College-Branded Beer Free to Flow

The college-branded beer can keep flowing in Louisiana.

A lawmaker in the Bayou State has quit his effort to prohibit Louisiana’s colleges and universities from authorizing the creation of a beer or other alcoholic beverage that bears the school’s brand.

Democrat Cedric Glover, a state representative from Shreveport, had proposed the prohibition in reaction to Louisiana State University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette licensing official beers.

Last week, Glover brought his bill banning booze-branding before the House Education Committee in Louisiana’s House of Representatives. Nonetheless, he scrapped the bill before a vote could be taken. Opposition was stiff from fellow lawmakers.

Glover felt banning colleges and universities from having officially licensed beers with their branding would send the right message about temperance and moderation to students. Binge drinking and alcohol abuse among college students is a concern nationwide.

During last week’s discussion of the bill, Glover sat next to placards that showed LSU’s tiger mascot being used to market cigars and malt liquor. The mascot is not used to promote such products in the real world. Rather, Glover created the placards to show the ways a university’s branding could be applied to such products if a prohibition was not in place.

Currently, LSU has an officially licensed beer called Bayou Bengal Lager. Tin Roof Brewing Company makes the brew, which comes in a can printed in LSU’s colors of purple and gold. The school’s tiger mascot features prominently on the can. Meanwhile, Bayou Teche Brewing makes the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s licensed beer – Ragin’ Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale. The beer comes in bottles bearing the school’s colors and team name, Ragin’ Cajuns.

The universities have said that they ventured into the branding deals as a means to generate cash in the wake of a decline in state funding. School budgets have gaps that need bridging, and creative licensing partnerships can help, they say.

Republican Chris Broadwater, a state representative from Hammond, argued against Glover’s proposal. He said government should not limit schools from exploring legal opportunities to bring in cash that could help strengthen their ability to provide quality education. Reuters reported that Broadwater also said that passing Glover’s bill could impinge on current contracts.

One person who is certainly glad that Glover backed off his bill is Stephanie Knott of Bayou Teche Brewery. She told The Advocate that the brewery invested in additional equipment to support the Ragin’ Cajuns brand, and has worked for two years on developing and marketing UL-Lafayette’s official beer. “It would be devastating to our business if we could not continue to make this brand,” Knott said. “This brand is very popular.”