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Presidential candidates invited to test beer pouring skills

Kaitlyn Riley

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Tami Plourde, Pearl Street Brewery owner

A pour for presidency? Pearl Street Brewery once again invited presidential candidates to pour the perfect beer. Hillary Clinton tried in 2016 when she visited La Crosse as a primary presidential candidate for the Democratic Party only to proudly raise a glass of foam.

“She just didn’t know that it didn’t really go well for her,” Pearl Street Brewery Owner Tami Plourde said. “She just hoisted it up there very proud, so you see me pour a beer really quickly and swap it out of her hand, but the damage was done.”

Photos and videos went viral, and many joked the story cost Clinton the election. Plourde said it is all for fun. The brewery received some backlash after re-posting the photo with Clinton in their invitation. Plourde said while they think it is important for people to have their political beliefs, the brewery does not support one party or candidate over another. The opportunity is open for all.

“It is important to distinguish that because I think people get so fired up like, ‘oh, there’s Hillary. I’m never going to drink your (beer) again!’ It hurts,” Plourde said. “That is not our intention at all. We are not trying to sway anything one way or another.”

Plourde said the publicity did not directly impact their business but added tapping into Wisconsin’s culture is an opportunity for candidates to connect with the people they may represent.

“People in Wisconsin love their beer,” Plourde said. “They love their cheese. They love a lot of things and they are very passionate, and so they will show up for it. I think it is a place where they can roll up their sleeves, unbutton their collars little bit and speak to their audience in a more open and honest way.”

Plourde said no one has accepted their offer yet, but the election season is still young. She recommended practicing before pouring.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.