Though the Packers and Bears rivalry comes close, there’s simply no bigger point of contention in and around Milwaukee than the long-running dispute between two domestic beer kingpins: Miller and Budweiser. Last month, the unending battle between the pair of brewing behemoths has was heightened when Anheuser-Busch unveiled a new ad campaign for Bud Light that called out Miller’s use of corn syrup in Miller Lite.
When Budweiser started running anti-Miller billboards in Milwaukee recently, one Bay View bar owner decided he’d had enough. Yesterday, Puddler’s Hall announced that it will be pulling its entire stock of Budweiser and Bud Light from its coolers and “pouring it down the drain” as part of what the bar is calling “The F U Bud Challenge.”
Puddler’s Hall announced their Bud boycott in a video on its Facebook page Monday. In the video, owner Casey Foltz says “we’re bringing the Bud and the Bud Light to where it rightfully belongs” before customers pour bottles of the Anheuser-Busch beer down a urinal drain. Foltz tells Milwaukee Record his decision to ban Budweiser came after talking to other members of a Milwaukee bar owners Facebook group who shared his frustration with the anti-Miller ads.
“It sounded like everyone who was responding to the comment was either on board or didn’t serve Bud and Bud Light anyway,” Foltz says. “I’ve always been proud of my city, and feel like we need to do our part to support our businesses.”
Effective yesterday, Puddler’s Hall removed all its Budweiser and Bud Light—the only two Anheuser-Busch products it carried—from its shelves. Foltz admits they haven’t dumped all of it yet, but says “we have a couple of fun ways that we might do so over the next week.”
Foltz tells us he’s yet to have any customers complain about the decision. He says Puddler’s Hall doesn’t typically sell much Budweiser and Bud Light, so he’s not concerned about losing business. “If someone comes in asking for one, we have around 60 other beers that we can offer them,” Foltz says.
Puddler’s Hall says they don’t have any plans to bring Bud back into rotation at this time, but the ban isn’t necessarily permanent.
“I mean, removing the billboards, and an apology to the city would probably be enough to win back the business,” Foltz says.
The owner made it clear that this bold “challenge” isn’t necessarily a pro-Miller movement. Rather, Foltz views his decision to stop carrying Bud and Bud Light altogether to be a pro-Milwaukee statement.
“I’m not pushing anyone to drink Miller products, but they do still employ more than a thousand people in Milwaukee. Some of them are my friends and customers, so that seems pretty local to me,” Foltz says. “The brewing industry in Milwaukee employs thousands more, so if you’re not interested in Miller products, there are plenty of other local brews in town to tip back.”