John Beal’s All-American Beer Company’s American Patriot Beer may sound like a good idea. A cold brew made in America.
But Beal, the rat roofer turned beer baron, is no friend of unions.
“I think for any union household that’s into drinking beer in St. Louis, there’s only one and that’s AB/InBev,” said Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council. “AB has contributed hundreds of thousands of manhours of union construction to the St. Louis area for decades. I’m sure Patriot Beer is going to have a hard row to hoe to come into this market.”
Beal, who does business as John Beal Incorporated, John Beal Construction, Inc., John Beal Door Company, LLC and John Beal Roofing, does residential and commercial roofing, siding, windows, gutters, masonry, kitchens, bathrooms, basements, additions and decking and none of it is done union.
Denny Marshall Jr., financial secretary-treasurer and business representative for Roofers Local 2, is well acquainted with Beal and his various non-union business ventures.
“He does some commercial roofing. He does some of the Bricklayers’ work. He does general construction. He subs everything out, and everything he does is non-union,” Marshall said. “He’s never signed a contract with any construction trade as far as I know.”
Bricklayers Local 1 Business Manager Don Brown agreed. He said Beal advertises tuck pointing and other masonry work, but always does the work non-union.
“He uses other contractors to do his masonry work and they’re always non-union,” Brown said. “Whenever he gets a brick job or a tuck pointing job he’ll sub it out to some rat company.”
Beal took the wraps off his latest venture – the All-American Beer Company – last summer when six-packs of its first brew, American Patriot Beer, started showing up on store shelves.
The beer is brewed in Wisconsin and is advertised under a guise of patriotism with the tagline "Take Back America…One Beer at a Time!"
In interviews with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Riverfront Times and other publications, Beal has talked about how he was “crushed” and “bothered” by the takeover of Anheuser-Busch by Belgian brewing giant InBev in 2008, and how that motivated him to start his All-American Beer Company. But he never mentions the scab labor that built his family’s roofing company, built his fortune and made it possible for him to invest in the brewery business.
That’s the other side of the story, the part Aboussie, Marshall and Brown want union members to know about before they buy any of Beal’s rat brew.
“Drinking his beer, you’re basically supporting a non-union shop,” Marshall said.