An Atlanta-area gas station owner is refusing to sell one of New England’s most popular beers leading up to Super Bowl LI.
Viral Chhadua, who manages the Brown Bridge Exxon gas station in Gainesville, says he’s keeping Samuel Adams, Boston Beer Co.’s flagship beer, off his shelves until after the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons face off on Sunday.
As a Falcons fan, Chhadua’s beef with the beer allegedly started as a response to a Boston Globe column penned by Dan Shaughnessy titled “It’s hard to get pumped up about a Super Bowl against…Atlanta.” The post lamented that Sunday’s matchup wouldn’t be a showdown between historic rivals or another city with a higher profile football team.
Chhadua says he believes the article belittled his city—and the many passionate Falcons’ fans throughout Georgia.
“I was already pumped that we were in the Super Bowl and matched up against living legends in Bill [Belichick] and Tom [Brady],” the station manager told ESPN of the Patriots’ coach and quarterback. “Then this article pops up and belittles our sports teams and fan base. I was irritated at the shots this guy took at the fan base and Atlanta as a whole.”
Last week, Chhadua posted a handwritten sign on his beer cooler, reading “We Will NOT Be Selling Any Sam Adams Until After The Super Bowl. #RiseUp.
He also posted a picture of his sign on Facebook (it’s been liked hundreds of times) and says so far the response from Falcons fans has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s been positive from the Falcons’ fans and of course not so friendly from the Boston fans, but they’ve been good sports. They’re laughing at it and enjoying the banter,” Chhadua told Atlanta’s WSB-TV.
On Twitter, reports of at least one other Atlanta bar banning the Boston brew have a popped up.
Now, even Sam Adams has weighed in on the gas station’s beer ban.
Sam Adams’ founder Jim Koch told the Boston Globe he understands Chhadua’s position.
“We know what it’s like to be superfans of your hometown football team, so there’s no hard feelings,” he said. “This isn’t the first time we’ve been banned before the big game (eh hem, four rings), and we hope it won’t be the last. We’ll be toasting our hometown team with Sam Adams alongside New England fans everywhere.”
Sam Adams also shared a snarky tweet with Chhadua’s sign.
For now, though, Sam Adams fans won’t be able to find their favorite beer at Chhadua’s store. But whether the Falcons win or lose Sunday, the Boston Beer Co.’s bottles and cans will be back on the shelves Feb. 6.
Meanwhile, one of Atlanta's best known breweries, SweetWater Brewing, has made a friendly wager with the Sam Adams' beer maker-- that the losing team will name a new beer after the winner.