There’s a hole in Viral Chhadua’s beer display in the back coolers of the Gainesville Exxon on Browns Bridge Road.
Not one Boston-brewed Sam Adams will occupy that spot until the end of the Super Bowl, when the Atlanta Falcons face the New England Patriots.
Chhadua, the store’s manager, put up a sign saying the store would not sell any Sam Adams beer until after the Super Bowl Feb. 5 in Houston. The Gainesville High School graduate said the inspiration came after a column in the Boston Globe “belittling” Atlanta sports and their fan bases.
“I got the idea to pull the Sam Adams after I read something from a contributor to the (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) … comparing things of Atlanta to Boston, obviously saying they’re better,” he said.
Since the hand-written sign went up, Chhadua said the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We’ve had people come from 45, 60 minutes away just to grab some SweetWater, because that’s what we’re promoting right now instead of Sam Adams,” he said.
The response from Sam Adams on Twitter has been jovial, saying Chhadua’s decision has not stopped them from enjoying Atlanta-based Coca-Cola.
The director of distribution for SweetWater, an Atlanta-based brewery, reached out to Chhadua Friday morning.
“They swapped out all of the SweetWater that was here before and replaced it with brand-new, fresh-brewed SweetWater,” he said.
Media outlets across the nation have reached out to him, which Chhadua said he did not expect.
“I’m not surprised by it, because we have a passionate fan base in Atlanta and we love our sports teams,” he said.
A big Falcons fan, Chhadua said his prediction for the game is a Falcons win, 34-28.
“I usually open on Sundays, so I’m here watching it at work,” he said.