Personal Guinness Boycott Grows out of Lutheran-Catholic Dialogues, by Pr. Rossow

index_24Bill Donohue (you might recognize him as one of the talking heads from Fox News) and The Catholic League have put together a petition to boycott Guinness Beer. I just signed it and I invite you to give it some thought as well.

This grew out of my own little Lutheran/Catholic dialogues. One of my closest friends is a traditional, conservative Roman Catholic. He is the husband of one our members. My wife and I have traveled extensively with him and his wife and a few years ago we started meeting once a month for some imbibing and discussion of current affairs in the world and the church. We have our monthly get together at an area Irish pub and that’s what led to my drinking and now boycotting of Guinness beer. I tend to favor lighter pilsner type beers but figured since I was in an Irish pub I would drink the darker and stronger Guinness. The taste grew on me and now I am a big fan, or was a big fan.

The Catholic League has set up the petition because of Guinness’ recent actions with the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City. As usual, it is political correctness gone awry. Check out the petition and see if you want to give up Guinness for Lent and all the other seasons of the church year as I have done.

By the way, our little Lutheran/Catholic dialogues have had some strain over the years. Because we are both so stubborn and convinced of our positions, a few years ago we figured out that debating the core of Christianity, the doctrine of justification, was going to have to be off limits. We do rejoice in the many things that we do share in common including devotion to the liturgy, common moral principles and strangely enough, support for the recent primary victory of a Lutheran boy, Ben Sasse, who was supported by another Catholic organization Catholic Vote. That story will have to wait another day for another Guinness, or I should say a Pilsner Urquel.


About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Personal Guinness Boycott Grows out of Lutheran-Catholic Dialogues, by Pr. Rossow — 47 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing Pastor. I was aware of what happened and as a fan of stouts, was hurt by what happened.

    While I agree with you in principle, I ask to what end?

    Urquel’s SABMiller management is just as sinful as any other company. Do we boycott Guiness and not all other companies? Do we grow our own hops, bought only from repentant, confessional LCMS members?

    To what end? Where do I draw the line?

  2. Big Boy,

    This is not about sin. Each of us is sinners and so should be boycotted if that were the criteria.

    This is about the public policy and action of a corporation.

    I also see this as an event that got a lot of press and that makes a difference.

    Where do you draw the line? I really don’t know but I hope that helps.

  3. Find a local stout Pastor, or give Murphy’s or (if you can find it) Beamish a try. (Can you tell I lived in the UK for a few years?)

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  4. @ Pastor Rossow

    You bring up a good distinction, and create a fair line. When they actively are pursuing a public agenda contrary to scripture that’s the time to stop buying.

    Personally, Bellhaven or Boddingtons are better brews. If you can’t get them where you are, I’ll ship you a case to your church.

  5. I’m not boycotting Guinness, as I recognize that businesses are what they are. Now, if they start persecuting Christians and actively working against the Gospel, it will be a different story.

    But then, Guinness fell off my primary menu, when a local brewery hit it big with one of my favorite dark beers: Irish Death. If this hasn’t made it to your neck of the woods, demand your local pub carry it. It’s worth an uprising. Particularly good for discussing the finer points of theology with friends, especially when wings are involved.

    Of course, if you think you’ll find a more virtuous brewer in the Pacific Northwest than the folks in Dublin, you’re gonna be dry a long time…

  6. Having a “dialogue” with the Catholic Church is a waste of time. Martin Luther tried it. It doesn’t work. As for beer, when a commercial company comes out in favor of a social issue like gay marriage….they are making a statement and do not care if they offend orthodox Christians and conservatives whose convictions the company disdains. They have stepped away from welcoming all customers, as most companies do. They are free to do so. And I am also free to make my own statement to Guinness. I will never drink their product. It is just beer, after all, and I have many choices to make with other brands on the shelves of the supermarket. I do not disagree with the Catholic Church on opposing gay marriage and abortion, as that is many of our positions as well. But I have a feeling this new Pope is a bit of a progressive and is coming out of the closet gradually. Likely, there will be tension between conservatives and liberals in the Catholic Church in the years ahead, if this guy is still in charge.

  7. @Brad #5
    You have a point of course. Anyone who wouldn’t buy a car or gas from a company w/ anti-traditional family values, would be out of luck. It would be challenging to find an auto manufacturer or oil company that does not pay for abortions for their workforce, or have a “pro-gender diversity statement” of some sort on their HR page no matter how many flags and bald eagles they put in their ads. Now I bike to work most days, but this is a game we can’t win.

    I signed the Guinness petition, and I think there’s a lot of good in buying things from small local places when you can, but there’s a point where it’s probably ok to just go w/ Paul’s 1 Cor 10:25 answer, and just not ask: “where did this meat came from?”

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  8. Tim,
    The very same problem occurred in the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In this case it was Samuel Adams that withdrew its support. I have already stopped drinking both of my favorite beers!

  9. I gave up Guinness long ago, because I developed a taste for better beer. I’m blessed to be married to a man with quite the talent for brewing, so I don’t have to go far for a good brew — whether it’s his bourbon barrel porter or his Irish red. Though I am having to wait until baby #3 is born before I can enjoy again.

    I try not to make a spectacle of my choosing not to support certain companies, and honestly one can’t always know (and who really has the time to investigate) how every business is run/managed/etc. Though, you are right in that this situation is a bit different because of the public nature…

    But I still hold to the stance that whether people give up Guinness due to this issue or not, they should give it up regardless, because there is much better beer out there from wonderful breweries to enjoy (and if anyone needs recommendations, I have a few ;)).

  10. @ #6:
    “It is just beer, after all.”


    But in all seriousness, there are far superior offerings to be had.

    Vote with your pint glass (or growler!). 🙂

  11. I just have to say based on these comments that Confessional Lutherans are the most enjoyable people one could ever know. Well, my Catholic friend is a lot of fun too.

  12. Since pastor’s are on tight budget’s because of student loans from our finest seminaries, I have to stick with Pabst Blue Ribbon Tall. Served from a tall boy into a pilsner glass at around 45°F. $10.00 a case when the drinking age was 18.

  13. I understand your point. We simply cannot boycott everything, and if we need to buy air conditioner filters,for example, in a size only a certain company carries…..and if that company comes out publicly as pro-gay…..well, you get the picture. And it is also true many companies cover abortions as health insurance benefits. I suppose we cannot go overboard, as we live in an increasingly anti-Christian environment these days, but in my own way….I can avoid patronizing some of these firms….and will continue to do.

  14. I drank Guinness, but also drank Samuel Adams even more. SA also boycotted the St. Patrick parade in Boston for the same reason as did Guinness in NY. I thought I was the only one who changed their drinking habits after St. Patrick day 2014.

  15. Does the petition seem petty and silly to anyone else?

    “If Guinness reinstates its sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, this campaign will end.”

    So that’s all it’s going to take to drink Guinness with good conscience again: they just need to throw their money back into this event?

    Oh, and come on: “fingered this parade”?? Who wrote this?

  16. Leah,

    It’s not a matter of conscience for heaven’s sake. It’s a matter of principle and sending a message.

    I could drink Guinness with a clean conscience. I and others are simply trying to tell the Guinness corporation that there are two sides to this issue. It is mindless caving into the false god of sensitivity to pull out of the parade.

  17. I was a Guiness drinker but I don’t drink much at all any more.

    Maybe I’ll switch to Warsteiner Dunkel. Saw some of that at the store.

  18. @Pastor Tim Rossow #16

    Thanks for making the point clear about the difference between conscience and principle. I also have eschewed Sam Adams and Guinness. I’m a porter guy myself….try Shake Chocolate Porter. Dark black and creamy. But it’s a Boulder Brewery beer…and you know how those marijuana legalizing Coloradans are! 🙂

  19. You must go easy on the Warsteiner. Our beloved Martin Luther loved his beer an awful lot. By the end of his life it was rumored it looked like he was carrying a large beach ball under his Monk’s frock.

  20. @J. Dean #13
    We have hopes of a Lutheran-run brewery when my husband retires from the military – temporarily named Solus Cervisiam (“Beer Alone”). Someday. Someday.

    In the meantime, Mission Brewery (from San Diego) has an amazing Russian Imperial Stout. New Belgium’s Abbey is a good dark brew. And if you’re ever in the Wyoming area, Freedoms Edge Brewery has a pretty darn good Vanilla Porter.

    Can you tell I miss beer?

  21. An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman are sitting at an outdoor bar with newly ordered beers. Suddenly, three flies previously hovering harmlessly above dive, one each, into their beers. The Englishman says, “Barman, a fly just dived into my beer. Bring me another one.” The Englishman gets another beer. The Irishman says, “Ah, saints, who cares?” and empties his pint, fly and all. The Scotsman pulls the fly out of his beer, shakes it up and down, and screams, “Spit it out, you thief! Spit it out!”

    An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a bar. The bartender turns to them, takes one look, and says, “What is this – some kind of joke?”

    An Englishman, an Irishman and a Rabbi walk into a bar. The Rabbi stops and says, “Wait a minute! I’m in the wrong joke here!”

  22. Hey Matt Mills – Thanks for getting the important part – If I give up Guinness, what stout is a good replacement.

  23. To complete the list – Heineken also withdrew support for the NY parade along with Guinness. Boycotting corporations because of their objectionable actions can be problematic – if I boycotted every product because of management decisions with which I don’t agree, I would have to carry quite a long list. However, I did sign the Catholic League petition and I will make future choices from among the many other good beers out there. In Cleveland, that includes the Great Lakes Brewing Co. which makes a good lager, Dortmunder Gold, and I hope I can stay ignorant of reasons to avoid their products.

  24. @JJ Flanagan #6 As time goes on, folks will see that this Pope teaches and says pretty much what the other Popes have.

    You can’t believe what the media says that he says because they take every thing out of context.

    The current Pope is not all of a sudden going to change church dogma to allow for gay marriage, abortion, and barrels of grape juice that folks are helping themselves to during the Eucharist.

  25. Ed Tornberg :
    To complete the list – Heineken also withdrew support for the NY parade along with Guinness. Boycotting corporations because of their objectionable actions can be problematic – if I boycotted every product because of management decisions with which I don’t agree, I would have to carry quite a long list. However, I did sign the Catholic League petition and I will make future choices from among the many other good beers out there. In Cleveland, that includes the Great Lakes Brewing Co. which makes a good lager, Dortmunder Gold, and I hope I can stay ignorant of reasons to avoid their products.

    I didn’t see GLBC supporting LGBT. But anheizer-bush, coke, pepsi, microsoft, apple, and viacom made the support list.

    1. 3M Co.

    2. AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah

    3. Abercrombie & Fitch

    4. Accenture Ltd.

    5. Aetna

    6. Agilent Technologies

    7. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld

    8. Alaska Airlines

    9. Alcatel-Lucent

    10. Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America

    11. Allstate Corp.

    12. Alston & Bird

    13. American Express

    14. Ameriprise Financial

    15. American Airlines

    16. Anheuser-Busch Companies

    17. Aon Corp.

    18. Apple

    19. Arent Fox LLP

    20. Arnold & Porter

    21. AT&T

    22. Bain & Co.

    23. Baker & Daniels LLP

    24. Bank of America

    25. Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

    26. Barnes & Noble

    27. BASF

    28. Bausch & Lomb

    29. Best Buy

    30. Bingham McCutchen

    31. BMC Software

    32. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals

    33. Boeing

    34. Borders

    35. Boston Consulting Group

    36. BP America

    37. Bright Horizons Family Solutions

    38. Brinker International

    39. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co

    40. Brown Rudnick

    41. Bryan Cave

    42. Campbell Soup Co.

    43. Capital One

    44. Cardinal Health

    45. Cargill

    46. Carlson Companies

    47. Carmax

    48. Charles Schwab

    49. Chevron

    50. ChoicePoint

    51. Chrysler

    52. Chubb

    53. Cisco Systems

    54. Citigroup

    55. Clear Channel Communications

    56. Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton

    57. Clifford Chance US LLP

    58. Clorox

    59. CNA Insurance

    60. Coca-Cola

    61. Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.

    62. Constellation Energy Group Inc.

    63. Continental Airlines

    64. Coors

    65. Corning

    66. Covington & Burling LLP

    67. Cox Enterprises

    68. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

    69. Credit Suisse

    70. Cummins

    71. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

    72. Dell

    73. Deloitte & Touche

    74. Deutsche Bank

    75. Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP

    76. Diageo North America

    77. Dickstein Shapiro

    78. DLA Piper

    79. Dorsey & Whitney

    80. Dow Chemical

    81. DuPont

    82. Eastman Kodak

    83. eBay Inc.

    84. Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP

    85. Electronic Arts

    86. Eli Lilly & Co.

    87. Ernst & Young

    88. Estee Lauder

    89. Esurance

    90. Faegre & Benson

    91. Fannie Mae

    92. Foley & Lardner

    93. Foley Hoag

    94. Ford

    95. Freescale Semiconductor

    96. Fried, Frank, Haris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

    97. GameStop

    98. Gap

    99. Genentech

    100. General Motors

    101. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

    102. GlaxoSmithKline

    103. Hyatt

    104. Goldman Sachs

    105. Google

    106. Harrah’s

    107. Hartford Financial Services

    108. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

    109. Haynes and Boone LLP

    110. Heller Ehrman

    111. Herman Miller

    112. Hewitt Associates

    113. Hewlett-Packard

    114. Hoffman-La Roche Inc.

    115. Holland & Knight

    116. Honeywell International

    117. Hospira

    118. Howrey LLP

    119. HSBC USA

    120. Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP

    121. IndyMac Bancorp

    122. ING North America Insurance

    123. Intel

    124. IBM

    125. Intuit

    126. J.C. Penney

    127. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

    128. Jenner & Block

    129. Johnson & Johnson

    130. Kaiser Permanente

    131. KeyCorp

    132. Kimberly Clark Corp.

    133. Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group

    134. Kirkland & Ellis

    135. KPMG

    136. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

    137. Latham & Watkins

    138. Lehman Brothers

    139. Levi Strauss

    140. Lexmark International

    141. Littler Mendelson PC

    142. Liz Claiborne

    143. Lockheed Martin Corp.

    144. Macy

    145. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP

    146. Marriott International

    147. Marsh & McLennan Cos.

    148. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance

    149. MasterCard

    150. McDermott Will & Emery

    151. McKinsey & Co.

    152. Merck & Co.

    153. Merrill Lynch & Co.

    154. MetLife

    155. Microsoft

    156. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo

    157. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

    158. Morgan Stanley

    159. Morrison & Foerster

    160. Motorola

    161. National Grid USA

    162. Nationwide

    163. NCR

    164. New York Life Insurance Co.

    165. New York Times

    166. Newell Rubbermaid

    167. Nielsen Co.

    168. Nike

    169. Nixon Peabody

    170. Nordstrom

    171. Northern Trust

    172. Northrop Grumman

    173. Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp.

    174. O’Melveny & Myers

    175. Oracle

    176. Orbitz

    177. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

    178. Owens Corning

    179. Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

    180. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

    181. Pepsi Bottling Group Inc.

    182. PepsiCo

    183. Perkins Coie

    184. Pfizer

    185. PG&E

    186. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

    187. Powell Goldstein

    188. PricewaterhouseCoopers

    189. Progressive Corp.

    190. Proskauer Rose LLP

    191. Prudential Financial

    192. Raymond James Financial

    193. Raytheon

    194. Recreational Equipment Inc.

    195. Replacements Ltd.

    196. Reynolds American Inc.

    197. Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP

    198. Ropes & Gray LLP

    199. Sabre Holdings

    200. Schering-Plough

    201. Sears

    202. Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP

    203. Sempra Energy

    204. Seyfarth Shaw LLP

    205. Shell Oil

    206. Sidley Austin

    207. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

    208. Sodexho

    209. Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal

    210. Southern California Edison

    211. Sprint Nextel

    212. Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP

    213. Starbucks

    214. Starcom MediaVest

    215. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    216. State Street Corp.

    217. Subaru of America

    218. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

    219. Sun Life Financial Inc.

    220. Sun Microsystems

    221. SunTrust Banks

    222. Supervalu

    223. Symantec Corp.

    224. Target

    225. Tech Data

    226. Texas Instruments

    227. Thompson Coburn

    228. Time Warner

    229. TJX Cos.

    230. Toyota Financial Services

    231. Toyota Motor Sales USA

    232. Travelport

    233. Troutman Sanders

    234. U.S. Bancorp

    235. UBS AG

    236. Unilever

    237. United Business Media

    238. United Parcel Service

    239. US Airways Group

    240. Viacom

    241. Vinson & Elkins

    242. Visa

    243. Visteon Corp.

    244. Volkswagen of America

    245. Wachovia Corp.

    246. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

    247. Walgreens

    248. Walt Disney

    249. Washington Mutual

    250. Weil, Gotshal and Manges

    251. Wells Fargo & Co.

    252. Whirlpool

    253. White & Case

    254. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr

    255. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

    256. Winston & Strawn

    257. Wyndham Worldwide

    258. Xerox

    259. Yahoo!


    and a short slideshow for those interested.

    Oh, and sodexho is on that list. I thought that’s what the Concordias used.

  26. By the looks of this, pretty soon they will be charging us with hate crimes for being Lutheran.

  27. @Tim Schenks #28
    That will only happen to the confessional, faithful bodies of churches. The milquetoast “evangelicalism” that doesn’t offend the world will be embraced with open arms, much like the European churches with a theology that barely includes a basic belief in God, let alone anything else vital to Christianity.

  28. @Quasicelsus #27
    I’m suggesting the term “biology deniers” for the folks who say “the sexes (sorry, “genders”) are totally interchangeable.”

    Hey if public opinion can overturn biology, I plan to write my congressional reps and see if they can revoke the law of gravity as well. (Wouldn’t it rock if my bike could fly?)

  29. Matt Jamison :
    Pilsner Urquell is superb.

    Pilsner Urquell is owned by SABMiller.
    They are announcing, with pride, the work of the Millercoors branch,

    “He noted that MillerCoors also has a long history of support in the LGBT communities it serves. For example:

    Worked on Capital Hill with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the MSF to try to pass the Matthew Shepard Act and Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA).

    Received a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for five years in a row.
    First company in the alcohol beverage industry to provide domestic partner benefits.
    MillerCoors supports many gay and lesbian organizations and events. In addition to the MSF, MillerCoors supports the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Gay Pride Week, the Gay Softball World Series, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Human Rights Campaign, and many others.
    MillerCoors supports non-profits working with people living with and affect by HIV and AIDS.
    It is MillerCoors policy that we do not discriminate against employees or potential employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
    MillerCoors has lesbian and gay employee affinity groups. These groups offer educational, social and support opportunities for its members and all MillerCoors employees. “

  30. @Quasicelsus #34
    This shows the futility of trying to boycott corporate entities whose policies conflict with our values. There are two gas stations at the corner a few miles away which I patronize, and out of curiosity I checked the list. Both were on it (BP America and Shell).

    There is a disturbing movement which is illustrated by the sponsors’ boycotts of the St. Patrick’s Day parades: A push to punish those who exercise the rights and freedoms we have had in this country by reverse “boycotts”. In the case of the parades, the organizers exercised their right to set rules for participation and were punished for it by these boycotts. Another example is the recent forcing out of Brendan Eich, the newly appointed Mozilla Corporation CEO who had exercised his right to donate $1,000 to the campaign for California Proposition 8 in 2008. LGBT activists punished the corporation by organizing boycotts of Firefox etc. I think this kind of activity deserves more attention than such things as corporations providing benefits to same-sex couples.

  31. @Ed Tornberg #35
    Again, there’s a point where it’s probably ok to just go w/ Paul’s 1Cor 10:25 answer, and just not ask: “so, where DID this meat [or beer] came from?” Still, as to your gas station conundrum, that’s one more reason for me to keep biking to work (as if turning gas money into beer money wasn’t a good enough reason in itself!)
    -Matt Mills

  32. I have found the regular Guinness too watery for my taste. If I had to pick a Guinness, it would be their Foreign Extra Stout although it looks like I might not be drinking that now. For those of you looking for alternatives to Guinness (or just general beer info), you might look at suggestions from and I would also recommend checking out your local craft brewery to see what they have.

    Ah, we Lutherans and beer…

  33. Yes, Lutherans and beer…but don’t forget the German wines: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Piesporter Michelsberg, Spätlese, Auslese, Zeller Schwartz Katz, Liebfraumilch, and others. It is a lamentable state of affairs that the Roman Catholics put us to shame in the Land of Luther. Last year I traveled to Germany on a business trip with a friend who is a devout Roman Catholic. We visited monasteries where they not only brewed beer…and distilled spirits…they also made wine. Couldn’t find any similar Lutheran establishments. I confess to beverage and barstool fellowship with him….

    But, we both agree on the reasons to avoid Guinness.

  34. Dave,

    Did you make it to Andechs Brewery outside of Munich?

    I totally agree with you on the wines. I have been up and down the Rhine and the Mosel. I drink Riesling like Kool-Aid, probably because it tastes like Kool-Aid.

  35. @Pastor Tim Rossow #43
    Pastor Rossow,

    Alas, we did not get to Andechs. In Munich we went to the HofbrauHaus. A good time was had by both of us. I will make it a point to get to Andechs next time I get the chance.

    I too like the sweetness of the German Whites….much better than a California Chardonnay.

  36. Chicago-area, NW Indiana brewery, Three Floyds–makes an awesome Scottish-style Ale. dark, smooth and hoppy, not bitter, aromatic, etc. Robert the Bruce it’s called. To me, it’s the best of both worlds–IPA hoppiness and porter/stout chewiness. No idea if Three Floyds is PC or not. No cheaper than Guinness, unfortunately.

  37. Fwiw, I stopped shopping at Home Depot several years ago because of their very open and in-your-face support of the LGBT agenda. Unfortunately, through no effort on my own part, I do know where that “meat” came from, so I can’t bring myself to buy it.

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