Best in the Barrio

Dan and I road-tripped down to Montgomery yesterday for the Free the Hops Legislative Tasting at the RSA Plaza.  The Tasting provided FTH with an opportunity to speak with about 25 Legislators in support of this year’s Brewery Modernization Act – which should actually be called the Jobs and Industry Creation Act.

After the event, about a dozen FTH organizers went to the El Rey Burrito Lounge in the Old Cloverdale neighborhood of Montgomery (on East Fairview off I65).  Great place – nice atmosphere, tasty food, and great beer and wine selection.

The owner of El Rey joined us for awhile and thanked us for passing the Gourmet Beer Bill last year.  He said that passing that bill had made a world of difference in his business during these tough times.  In comparing his detailed year-to-year sales information – he told us how adding Gourmet Beer to his menu had improved sales enough to offset losses in other areas.  This is a real world anecdote of a FTH talking point – good beer is good for business.  The City of Montgomery has a growing restaurant, people have jobs, and taxes get collected.  Thank you to the Legislators who voted for the Gourmet Beer Bill last year.

This year’s Brewery Modernization Act will create jobs and help grow an industry that’s good for people and good for tourism.

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Got to see my friend Jason of Good People from Birmingham.   We talked about getting their Coffee Oatmeal Stout to Mason’s in downtown Huntsville – I also got to introduce Representative Randy Hinshaw (D-21) to a sample of the stout (he was tentative in his praise, but IMO Randy just wasn’t used to the taste of this big beer).

Jason and I also spoke about brewfests.  FTH is gearing up for the Rocket City Brewfest on May 7 and 8, 2010 at the Depot Roundhouse.  With the rising popularity of brewfests around the country, breweries are having to make tough calls every weekend as to which events they will attend.  For example, Jason said that his brewery had three invitations for events held at the same time as the RCBF – he chose us because Huntsville is an important market for his company – but you get the picture.  Brewfest organizers are increasingly going to have to compete for breweries – and may have to start actually (gasp!) paying for the beer (at cost).

Being the inquisitive and obviously rude person that I am – I asked Jason if Good People was making a profit – I am happy to report that they are, and I’m happy for them – it means that they can keep making and selling great beer!

Dan at Straight to Ale brought a couple of fine beers – his brewery at Lincoln Mills will be opening soon, which along with Olde Towne makes Huntsville the beer capitol of Alabama with TWO breweries!

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Got to see Brent Buchanan and Josh Pendergrass - a couple of the people behind the Public Strategy Associates ‘GOP Governor and Attorney General Poll’.  I also got to meet Matt Braynard from DC, who “worked for the Republican National Committee through three election cycles and was part of the initial team assembled by then Chairman Hailey Barbour to develop the Republican Party’s first national voter database” (the ‘Voter Vault’) – he’s a brilliant guy and very nice.

The poll of “likely Republican primary voters” showed Gubernatorial candidates Bradley Byrne at 20%, Roy Moore at 17%, Tim James at 8%, Robert Bentley at 4%, Kay Ivey at 3%, and Bill Johnson at 2% – with 46% of GOP primary voters Undecided.

The poll showed Attorney General candidates Troy King (incumbent) at 27% and Luther Strange (24%) – with 49% of GOP primary voters Undecided.

IMO this is a good opening poll for the GOP.  It shows that half of the primary voters have a candidate in mind and half are up for grabs (as could be expected).  For the gubernatorial candidates, it reinforces the ‘conventional wisdom’ of Byrne as the leading candidate with Roy Moore a close second.  The poll provides a check to the Moore folks who believe that Moore’s numbers were as high as the 30s or 40s, however, it also shows that Moore has a lot of strength with “very conservative” voters.

IMO the biggest “news” out of the poll is the relative weakness of the incumbent Attorney General Troy King – he is essentially tied with Luther Strange.

Thanks to Public Strategy Associates for conducting the poll – fun reading!

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I also got to meet a lobbyist from Birmingham who is an investment banker.  We talked about the sewer mess (his firm wasn’t involved) – he doesn’t think that Jefferson County can walk from the sewer debt – that a bankruptcy judge would still make the County pay (and possibly appoint a ‘special master’).  We also talked about the legislature wanting to raid the Alabama Trust Fund – he said the legislature shouldn’t “invade the corpus” of the trust fund.

6 thoughts on “Best in the Barrio

  1. El Rey was definitely the highlight of the evening. I suggested we call it the “Saves the Economy and Everyone Gets Laid Act.” But they don’t listen to me when I get good ideas like that.

  2. Guys, the PSA poll is significantly different than the other polls floating around Montgomery. I’ve seen actual numbers on a few, and that’s the first one with Byrne in the lead – he is either second or third in all the others. Moore won’t win this race but that poll showed him a good bit lower than others and Byrne higher.

  3. Our poll numbers are slightly different because our sample was different. We started off by only calling known Republican primary voters, which is most effective because those are the only folks you can definitely count on to vote in June.

    Moore will receive some vote for non-traditional primary voters that wouldn’t necessarily be voting if Moore wasn’t running.

    That being said, no one has refuted our AG & Pres 2012 numbers, yet the Gov results came from the same sample. How could two questions be spot-on, yet one not when they all come from the same pool? Just some food for thought…

  4. For the enlightenment of your readers in the Montgomery area, can you provide a list of other establishments there that serve gourmet beer?

  5. Don – I heard that El Rey is the only restaurant down there that serves gourmet beer. They have a great beer list and really promote regional breweries (Lazy Magnolia, Good People, Yazoo).

    Montgomery Brewpub brews and sells their own gourmet beer down by Biscuits Field.

  6. Pingback: Public Strategy GOP Governor and AG Poll | flashpoint