New York bar bans Canadian beer during men’s Olympic hockey semifinal

B.C. pubs and bars will be allowed to stay open, or open early for this weekend's Olympic men's bronze and gold medal hockey games. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Francis Vachon

A bar in New York is taking the upcoming men’s Olympic hockey semifinal to a new patriotic level, warning customers it will not serve Canadian beer during game between Canada and the U.S.

The anticipated matchup will be watched in offices and bars across North America, and at the Amherst Pizza and Ale House in New York no Canadian beer will be served, calling it a “patriotic matter.”

John Bona III, the owner of Amherst Pizza and Ale House, says he’s surprised by the reaction his promotion has received on social media.

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“It’s really got some legs. It’s been overwhelming. I tried something patriotic for my customers, and now I have international exposure,” said Bona in a phone interview with Global News.

Bona, who admits to being superstitious, said he got the idea after remembering the heartbreak of the 2010 Olympics when Canada beat the U.S. for the gold in overtime.

“We were serving Labatt at the time and I remember (Canada) slipping one past our boy Ryan Miller. So I thought I’d be on the superstitious side and shut the taps off for the game,” he said.

READ MORE: Canada vs. USA in men’s Olympic hockey semifinal

Labatt and Molson products won’t be off the menu for long says Bona as they are two of the top beer choices served during Buffalo Sabres games.

At Tallboys, a craft beer house in Toronto, owner Phil Cacace is getting ready to watch the big game after opening for business five hours early to accommodate hockey fans.

Cacace, who opened the bar with his brother and cousin, boasts the largest Ontario craft beer selection in the province. He says the Americans can keep their beer.

“I guess because we only sell Ontario beer, so we’re not selling American beer,” said Cacace. “I figured the amount of new breweries that are opening up in the province we should open a place that celebrates (Ontario) beer.”

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Tallboys, like many bars around Toronto, will take advantage of the extended  alcohol licenses after city council passed a motion Thursday to allow bars and restaurants to open as early as 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday for the bronze and gold medal men’s hockey games.

The Amherst Ale house isn’t the only pub in the U.S. targeting Canadian suds. Aces Bars in San Francisco is charging $19 for a “Moslens”(sic), while only charging $3 for a Budweiser.

Beer has become intertwined in hockey matchups between the two North American countries.

President Barack Obama lost a bet to Prime Minister Stephen Harper after Canada’s women’s hockey team beat the U.S. in a thrilling overtime victory for the gold medal.

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