A Ban on School-Colored Beer Cans Is the Dumbest Thing Ever

Brian PeoplisCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2009



Imagine the following scenario: a group of college students walk into a liquor store looking for refreshments to last them through the night. All of a sudden, the students come across a case of beer that really sparks their interest. It’s not your average case of beer, mind you. This one is adorned in the colors of the Wisconsin Badgers, red and white.


Immediately the students become overwhelmed by the desire to drink not just a few beers, but gallons of the stuff. On any other occasion these fictional students may have just indulged in three or four beers, but with their respective collegiate colors plastered all over the cans, they can’t help but drink themselves into a coma.


To the average person, myself included, this scenario is completely absurd. Ask yourself, “does the color of a beer can really affect how many I consume?”


In all likelihood, the resounding answer would be “no.”  However, colleges across the country are racing to ban the so called “collegiate cans” from their campuses


The Anheuser -Busch Brewing Company unveiled the unique marketing plan earlier this year aimed at college students and alumni who spare no expense at showing off their team colors. 


The plan is simple: adorn the classic Bud Light can with team colors from 27 different universities, all of which have active and nationally recognized college sports programs. The University of Wisconsin in particular has been trying to shed its image as a booze friendly campus for a few years now, so this particular promotion created quite a firestorm when it was first introduced. 


UW -Madison, the University of Texas, the University of Michigan and others formally asked Anheuser -Busch to stop distributing the colored cans around their campuses. 


Michigan went so far as to have university lawyers address copyright infringement with the large brewer, citing their improper use of the team colors “maize and blue.”  While the copyright issue was the most extreme, a majority of the schools expressed concern over a seemingly irrelevant correlation between underage binge drinking and the color of the cans.


Hear that noise? It’s students and citizens across the country releasing a resounding, “huh?”

The ban on these colored cans makes zero sense.  I would venture to guess that not even the most esteemed psychology professor could back up the claim that binge drinking and the color of a beer can are in any way, shape, or form related. 


But university officials are basically supporting the same ridiculous anecdote that I told at the beginning of this story; the idea that college students, particularly underage students, will drink the collegiate colored beer like its water.  Sound a bit like “Reefer Madness?” Yes, because that’s exactly what it is.


For a unique insight, I asked my dad if such a thing would have happened when he attended college in the 70’s.  “Absolutely not.  In fact, most campuses held fairly active promotions with breweries,” said my dad, Matt. 


He recalled active promotional tie-ins between Pabst Brewing and his college, Marquette University.  Colleges and alcohol have gone hand in hand for decades, and most of the tailgating experiences on game day are brought to the fans by these breweries. 


I believe it’s safe to say that most fans would just stay at home if a little booze wasn’t involved in their tailgating festivities.


So without these fans and alumni buying tickets to games and getting the freedom to enjoy themselves prior to kickoff or tipoff , universities would take a severe cut in profits from their athletic programs.  The university needs these fans, so why not let them have a little fun by showing team pride on their beer can?


I am certainly not advocating binge drinking, but to draw such a blurry line between alcohol abuse and can color is downright stupid.  You simply cannot prove that students will abuse alcohol by putting team colors on a can of Bud Light.  It’s harmless fun. And please, don’t bring up the argument that Anheuser -Busch is profiting off of collegiate colors, because something tells me they sell enough beer anyway.


If anything, these universities are insulting the discipline and intelligence of the average student by saying, “you simply cannot be trusted to enjoy this beer responsibly because it contains our school’s colors.  Despite the fact that you were smart enough to be admitted to our prestigious college, you lack the cognitive ability to decide when enough is enough on a hard-partying Saturday night. Please, allow us to make that decision for you.”


When will this madness stop? Who knows?  In the meantime, I’m going to crack open a cold one, and hopefully I’ll use enough restraint to not drink myself to death. If only this can didn’t oddly resemble the colors of the Wisconsin Badgers. …