May 2019

One of the stories dominating the news cycle in 2019 has been the ongoing war of words, both spoken and tweeted, between a man who was the oldest person ever elected to a first term as U.S. President and a woman who is the youngest person currently serving in the U.S. Congress.  Without rehashing the entire exchange between these two elected officials, I simply want to mention one insult in particular that caught my attention.  The President of the United States used the word “bartender” as a pejorative.  With all due respect to the Oval Office, I beg to differ.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for most of the bartenders I’ve met over the past half-century.  I’ve found most to be dedicated professionals.  More to the point, Schlafly depends on thousands of bartenders to introduce their customers to our beer.  To all of the knowledgeable and hardworking bartenders in our multi-state distribution area and beyond I say “thank you.”

Coincidentally, the President and the Congresswoman to whom I’m referring are both from New York City, which is also the home of a newspaper sometimes called The Old Gray Lady (OLG) aka The New York Times.  As some alert readers (ARs) undoubtedly know, The OLG recently ran a full-page story titled “36 Hours in St. Louis.”   Referring to our city’s thriving craft beer scene, the article said, “If forced to pick one [craft brewery], don’t miss the original upstart, the Saint Louis Brewery, makers of Schlafly beer. Since 1991, the Schlafly Tap Room has occupied a historically registered 1901 printing company building west of downtown in a handsome neighborhood of brick warehouses still awaiting revival.  There’s hardly a type of beer Schlafly hasn’t made over the years and the taps turn seasonally.”

As ARs who read the article know, it listed lots of other wonderful St. Louis amenities, including restaurants and cultural institutions.  It did not, however, include two cultural institutions with which I’m personally involved and which, in my humble opinion, were definitely worth mentioning.  The first is The St. Louis Public Library, to whose board I was first appointed over 34 years ago.  Like the New York Public Library, our Central Library is an historic, architectural gem that needed to be renovated and modernized to meet the needs of patrons in the 21st century. Unlike The New York Public Library, we in St. Louis completed our renovation in a way that respected the integrity of the building and did not antagonize historic preservationists and others. We did so at a small fraction of the cost of New York and won numerous architectural awards and accolades.

Another fine cultural institution that should have been mentioned was Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, which offers Shakespearean plays in Forest Park free of charge.  This season’s production, Love’s Labors Lost, will be performed in Shakespeare Glen from May 31 to June 23.  ARs who have really brushed up their Shakespeare will know that this is the only play by the Bard of Avon that’s set in a park. The average attendance at a Shakespeare play in Forest Park is higher than at any other outdoor venue of which I’m aware , including Central  Park in New York, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Old Glove in San Diego.  Our attendance last year for Romeo and Juliet on June 23rd was 5,800… more than triple the attendance at any Shakespeare play in Central Park or either of these two other venues.  As an added bonus,  Schlafly Beer is served in Shakespeare Glen, albeit not free of charge.

Aiken, SC

Another venue in St. Louis that serves Schlafly Beer and was not mentioned in The OLG’s article is Busch Stadium.  Our connection with the ballpark dates back to April 8, 1997, when the Cardinals played the Montreal Expos and Schlafly was served for the first time at the predecessor park, Busch Stadium II.  The only location where Schlafly was available was behind the bleachers in center field, a very long walk from my seats behind home plate.  Fortunately, the current ballpark,  Busch Stadium III,  has lots of convenient locations throughout the ballpark that offer Schlafly.

Two days after Schlafly’s debut in Busch Stadium II The Masters Golf Tournament began at Augusta National Golf Club.  Tiger Woods won by 12 strokes over runner up Tom Kite with a four day score of 270.  His margin of victory and total score set records that still stand today.  This was Tiger’s first win at The Masters and his first win at any major tournament.

Twenty-two years later Tiger won his fifth green jacket at Augusta, finishing one stroke ahead of three runners up.  This was his 15th win at a major tournament and came 11 years after his most recent win at a major  (the 2008 U. S. Open) and 14 years after his most recent win at The Masters in 2005.  He was more than twice as old as when he won for the first time.

I was there on Thursday and Friday and saw Tiger hit about a dozen of the 275 shots he hit over four days.  ARs who watched The Masters on TV, as I did on Sunday, April 14th, will realize I wasn’t alone. Because of the crowds, the closest hotel I could find was in Aiken, SC, over 20 miles away.  Along the way I discovered the intersection of Whiskey Road  and Easy Street, which is not far from the appropriately named Joye Cottage.  Whiskey Road was the route by which whiskey was brought to Aiken from the port of Charleston before the railroad was completed  in 1834.  Easy Street supposedly got its name from the abundance of speakeasies in the area during Prohibition.

It’s nice to know that Aiken is a community where bartenders are held  in the high esteem they deserve.

Tom Schlafly

Chairman – The Saint Louis Brewery