The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

August 17, 2011
Does 'Aggie Lager' send a mixed message?

aggie_lager_lg.jpgUC Davis officials talk about taking alcohol out of Picnic Day, the university's annual open house that has been marred by drunkenness and beer-fueled misbehavior.


Tuesday, they announced a licensing agreement with a local brewery to offer "Aggie Lager" at Davis restaurants.


Does anyone else see a mixed message here?


UC Davis officials hope the deal will raise awareness for its 53 years of teaching and research in brewing science. They also hope it raises $25,000 a year - enough to fund one athletic scholarship for an in-state student.


That's all well and good, but this is an area that has been controversial on other campuses and where UC Davis ought to tread very carefully.


Even some university officials seem to acknowledge the possible disconnect. The campus has a Safe Party Initiative with the city of Davis to reduce problems with overdrinking.


"I join the university community in the expectation of safe and responsible consumption of Aggie Lager and all alcohol products," Michelle Famula, executive director of Health and Wellness at UC Davis, said in a news release. "For those who choose to drink, UC Davis advocates that they do so legally and safely."


UPDATE: While university officials had been considering putting Picnic Day on hiatus (The Bee's editorial board supported that idea), a spokeswoman said today that the plan is go ahead with the event in 2012. It's scheduled for April 21.


"Measures taken last year resulted in progress 'rewinding' the atmosphere surrounding the event to its family friendly traditions," spokeswoman Julia Ann Easley said in an email. "The university and student organizers will continue to work with the city and community members to further address safety issues and improve the Picnic Day experience."


Photo: Sudwerk masterbrewer Jay Prahl pours Aggie Lager from the tap. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)

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The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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