During Washington’s home opener in mid-September, the fine gents from Ball Hogs Radio cracked open a nice, cold, World Cup beer at FedEx Field. That wasn’t a huge deal, except for the fact that the World Cup had ended more than two months before the Redskins hosted the Jaguars.
I didn’t write anything at the time, because I figured maybe Budweiser was just planning to manufacture 2014 World Cup beer in perpetuity. It was a great World Cup. Why not continue to commemorate it with nice, cold beer? Or maybe they just had lots of extra bottles?
But the Redskins played again on Thursday night, about 2 1/2 months after the World Cup ended and 3 1/2 months after that tournament started. And yet again, a fan received a World Cup-branded beer at FedEx Field.
I asked the customer to photograph the date code on the bottom of that bottle, and he complied.
Then I typed that code into Budweiser’s “Track Your Bud” feature on its Web site. “Your Bud has passed its freshness date,” the site told me. “Dan Westmoreland would like to buy you a fresh Budweiser. Please contact us.”
Expect 80,573 e-mails, Budweiser! Or at least 65,000, anyhow.
UPDATE: Tom Robinson, the 28-year old Redskins fan in question, actually got the beer from a friend, who had also bought a beer for himself. That second beer was not an expired World Cup beer. And while Robinson was hardly outraged about the incident, if he and his friend are paying more than $9 for a beer, they’d rather it not be expired.
“It tasted fine,” he said. “I didn’t even notice anything until my buddy said ‘Look, the World Cup.’ My buddy said ‘it’s gotta be old.’…I love the team and I’ll still support them no matter what, but it’s disappointing when you spend so much money on beer and it’s old.”
UPDATE: Pete Kraemer, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of brewing and supply, released a statement about this issue on Friday. Here it is, in full:
Brewmasters around the world will tell you the fresher the beer the better the taste. This is because beer is a food product, made of all-natural ingredients. Freshness is one of the most critical elements affecting the taste of beer and its drinkability. At Anheuser-Busch, we work hard to ensure our customers receive the freshest beer available.
We have strict policies of quality throughout our brewing processes and our distribution network. Additionally, we have significant product quality and tracking efforts and use “Born On” date coding and a 110-day shelf life for our major brands, including Budweiser and Bud Light. The ‘Track Your Bud’ app was created as a way for consumers to interact with the origination of their beer.
We work closely with our 600-plus wholesaler network to ensure beer is handled and distributed to our product quality standards. Our wholesalers adhere to strict inventory and product rotation guidelines, using temperature-controlled warehouses and a first-in, first-out, inventory system at retail.
We are working closely with the wholesaler and retailer regarding this instance.
And so Washington’s defense wasn’t the only thing stale at FedEx Field on Thursday night. How many ways did the Redskins get skunked against the Giants? I mean, that was a flat performance, from the field to the fridge. The era of good feelings is rapidly reaching its expiration date. Etc. Etc.
Still, there was some symmetry here. Perhaps the bottle was sold in tribute to popular teams suffering humiliating losses in front of international audiences on their home fields.
(Also, at least there is no history of selling outdated concessions at FedEx Field. I mean, besides that time when the Redskins were selling peanuts from an airline that had gone out of business.)