BOSTON (AdAge.com) -- The chairman of Boston Beer Co., marketer of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, today issued a public apology for his company's participation in a national radio show that featured people having sex near worshipers in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Boston Beer Chairman Jim Koch, who was in the studios of Infinity Broadcasting Corp.'s WNEW-FM during the live Aug. 15 "Sex for Sam" promotion, also apologized for his personal involvement as a "lapse in judgment, a serious mistake, and I regret it."
Mr. Koch's apology came as bar owners in heavily Catholic Boston, where Samuel Adams is headquartered, began a boycott of the company's products. As of Monday afternoon, 25 area owners reportedly pulled the beer and had asked New York bars to do the same.
The "Sex for Sam" contest segment of the "Opie and Anthony Show" encouraged participants to engage in sexual intercourse in public places. Winners received a trip to Boston for a concert. The exact nature of the the beer company's relationship with the contest is not clear, and calls for clarification had not been returned by press time.
The DJs of the show, Greg Opie Hughes and Anthony Cumia, were fired in the wake of the public outcry over the incident.
The event also sparked a Federal Communications Commission investigation and cancellation of the show by Viacom-owned Infinity Broadcasting. An Infinity spokeswoman said the show would be replaced.
In a written statement issued earlier today, Mr. Koch said he was not in control of the program that was happening around him, and that "We are re-evaluating our policy on radio station appearances."
A spokeswoman for Boston Beer said Mr. Koch has appeared several times on the show with the two shock-jock DJS who provide their listeners with detailed reports of couples having sex. The spokeswoman denied the company sponsored the racy promotion.
She said the company has advertised on WNEW for several years and company learned about the 3-year-old "Sex for Sam" promotion after its first year.
Boston Beer promotions are handled in-house, according to its ad agency, Big Chair Creative Group, New York.
While the Beer Institute, a national trade association, said it had no comment about the "Sex for Sam" promotion, its advertising and marketing code says beer advertising and marketing materials should reflect "generally accepted contemporary standards of good taste" and should not contain "any lewd or indecent language or images," "portray sexual passion, promiscuity or any other amorous activity as a result of consuming beer" or "employ religion or religious themes."