Anti-Beer Ads Proven Hoax
Panola Beer Store Has Role
By William Browning
David Howell and
Found in the knot of advertisements crowding Herald pages during the past year were a few placed by the Yalobushians Against Beer and Liquor.
An organization aligned with the conservative right, the YABAL group has invested hundreds of dollars since the summer of 2006 explaining to the community its religious and moral foundation against the consumption and sale of alcohol.
But an investigation by the Herald has found the group – led by a “J.B. Honnecutt” – is a hoax.
“We started getting reports from various people in the county that Honnecutt did not exist,” said Herald editor David Howell.
In its ads, YABAL appealed to the same higher power that many other foes of beer did. But the group’s divine inspiration would hardly seem kosher to churchgoers.
The YABAL message urged Yalobushians to vote against beer, citing additional problems the brew would batch in the county. Another ad pointed to a lack of integrity for the “childish acts” of stealing signs against beer from the yards and streets.
Its all been the creation of Robert Lutjemeyer, who brought YABAL ads to the Herald for publication under the alias, “Bobby Reynolds.”
Lutjemeyer is president of Lutjemeyer Inc., which has ties to Howard’s Grocery, the convenience store situated just over the county-line on Highway 315 in Panola County. Local dipsomaniacs refer to the store as “The Beer Store.” Others simply wear tee-shirts, sold at the store, that claim as much.
“This sounds kinda fishy to me,” Lutjemeyer said Monday when reached by telephone and questioned by Herald reporter Jack Gurner.
“Yea, your ad sounds kinda fishy to me,” responded Gurner.
When asked further about the ads’ origins and of “Honnecutt,” Lutjemeyer said, “You want me or you want him?”
Lutjemeyer went on to explain that “Honnecutt” is an insurance adjuster who is always on the road; never in town; resides in a camper at Cossar State Park; currently in California; indefinitely unavailable for comment; and a man who is “death on beer.”
“What difference does this make?” asked Lutjemeyer during the nearly 15-minute telephone conversation.
“We think it’s humorous,” answered Gurner.
As Gurner questioned the obviously flustered Lutjemeyer further, the president of Lutjemeyer Inc. – who claims to not be on Howard Grocery’s payroll and simply “helps them out” – wanted to know if the Herald will allow beer ads to be placed in its pages if county residents vote beer in.