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Sherman Says: You could call the State Fair ‘Andrew’s Brewery’ this year

Just when a bit of negative press began to bubble up around the re-election campaign of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the widely-popular Democrat has come up with a new marketing tool: beer.

Cuomo announced Monday that the New York State Fair will launch its own line of New York-brewed craft beer, known as “State Fair Showstopper Ale,” in time for the fair’s kickoff on Aug. 21. The beer will be made in part from New York hops and barley products and brewed by Empire Brewing Company of Syracuse, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Speaking Monday at the University at Buffalo, Cuomo classified his Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption an “overwhelming success” and referenced a statement of support from the panel’s co-chairman to rebuff claims of political interference from his office.

The New York Times last week published a story regarding alleged administration actions designed to thwart any probe of Cuomo or his political allies. The Times reported that the governor’s office interfered with the commission and never tried to investigate anyone in the Cuomo administration.

Rising above one of the rare blemishes on his governorship, Cuomo appealed to the basic instincts of the voters he hopes to woo in the November election. Perhaps drinking will help them forget.

“The Great New York State Fair deserves a great beverage to represent it, and this craft beer is a perfect fit,” Cuomo said in a cleverly crafted press release. “A beer bearing the name of one of the most exciting agricultural events in the nation will help promote the fair beyond the borders of this state, and gives people yet another reason to visit the annual celebration. I congratulate the team behind Showstopper and wish them continued success.”

To paraphrase the legendary humorist Will Rogers, Cuomo never met a campaign ploy he didn’t like. Rogers also said, “Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with.”

Visitors of legal drinking age can enjoy the beer at the new Taste NY Wine, Beer and Spirits Bar at the Colonnade and throughout the fairgrounds. This is the first time that New York craft beers and spirits will ever be served in that area of the fair.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball added to the lofty praise for the candidate, stating, “Gov. Cuomo has thrown the full weight of his administration into growing New York’s agriculture industry, and putting the State Fair name on a great craft beer is one way to make that support visible to all New Yorkers. We are committed to getting the best foods and drinks in the world to every resident of this state, many of which will be found in less than 30 days at the Great New York State Fair.”

You have to like a government official who promises to put a drink into the hands of every person in the state. Forget a chicken in every pot; Ball is promoting full-out boozing.

Troy Waffner, acting New York State Fair director jumped right in, asking the million-dollar question, “What can be more fun than discovering a new beer, made in New York, at the state’s most exciting and fun event?”

Meanwhile, Cuomo’s Republican challenger questioned his record regarding business development.

“While Gov. Cuomo claims New York is ‘open for business,’ Rob Astorino will make it a reality by tapping into New York’s vast energy resources. He’ll approve clean and reliable natural gas exploration on day one, so we can lower electric rates, improve air quality, create tens of thousands of new jobs, and bring billions of dollars in new revenue to this state,” according to his website. “Together, we can send a message to Albany that enough is enough by electing Rob Astorino as governor.”

Here’s another quote from Rogers worth remembering: “There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.”

(David F. Sherman is managing editor of Bee Group Newspapers and a columnist for the Weekly Independent Newspapers of Western New York, a group of community newspapers with a combined circulation of 286,500 readers. Opinions expressed here are those of the author. He can be reached at dsherman@beenews.com.)


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