Apr 18, 2013

Dressing up a turd.....

There, it is now cold enough to not taste it!
You hear similar references to this in the beer community every time a mega brewer comes out with a new bottle, or marketing gimmick (i.e. Vortex bottles, or cold blue mountains on your bottle). It seems to be happening a lot more these days, as the mega brewers see their strangle hold on the beer market slipping away. Now, let me say up front, I don't believe for a second American Macro brew is in any danger of going the way of the Dodo bird. They are obviously  a little nervous about the surge in craft beer sales however. Not a month seems to pass, where we don't see what the big boys are doing to try and lure away craft drinkers away from their beloved craft brews, back to the watery macros of the big boys. A while back, the furor was over mega brewers packaging their beers to "appear" to be craft, without printing their names on the package. I don't agree with them doing this, but I can understand why they do, and in many cases, it was/is effective for them. And maybe even a smart, albeit dishonest thing to do.

Everything you ever wanted in a beer, and less???
The area that seems to be their favorite area to lure people back to big beer is packaging and marketing. Dressing up their watery suds in pretty bottles, limited edition cans, fancy case wrappings etc. All over beer threads and blogs all over the internet, you will read the question asked over and over "why don't they just talk about whats in the can, not about the can itself?" Well, its pretty simple, because they can't. They can not compete with craft beer when it comes to complexity of taste. Miller can say their beer "tastes great", but to me, "great" doesn't really describe how it tastes at all. You don't hear the makers of economy cars bragging about how fast their cars are, and how they can go toe to toe with exotic sports cars, because they can't. Its not what makes their cars attractive to car buyers. When you can't compete on taste, what else is there? Marketing and packaging and creating an image of the beer drinker. Now I don't begrudge the big boys for doing this, but it seems to be a weak attempt to reignite sales. I mean, if you are in a failing marriage, you can't stand your wife, she hates you, and all you do is fight. How would you fix it? Go to marriage counseling and fix whats broken right? Not if you are a big brewer. What would they do? They would just go out and buy a new wardrobe, and pray that makes everything all better! Then wonder why it doesn't.

Just looks like a can wearing a belt to me
The latest examples I've seen of these gimmicks are pretty interesting actually. First off. on May 6th, Budweiser is going to start selling 8 packs (that's right, 8 packs) of its flagship brew, in 11.3 oz, bow tie shaped cans! That's right, how cool is that? Um, really, I mean, is this really that cool? According to AB InBev, they are pretty excited about it, and say this about it "Its a conversation starter, eye catching, easy to grip (really?), trendy, and according to our research, appealing to young adults" Trendy? Easy to grip? I can see it now, the only conversation I see this starting is "what the hell is wrong with your can?" So there you go, if you stopped drinking Budweiser because the can was just too boring or difficult to grip, well, come May 6th, you can go back to drinking it with ease and excitement!

This next one is just bizarre. Heineken creates a bottle that lights up? The bottle has built in LED lights that seem to be sound and/or motion activated. check out the video.....

OK, so it might be kind of cool, but why? The only place I see this working is at night clubs, where folks are more concerned with looking good, and spending money they don't have in a pathetic attempt to appeal to club chicks that I guess are impressed by just such a thing. You could probably charge $20 a bottle for this, and in clubs, after folks get a few drinks in them, will probably start snatching these beer trinkets up left and right. Luckily  this is just a concept, and as far as I can find, there are no plans to release this to the general public (for now), but still, the fact that there is a lot of money being spent on crap like this, just makes me shake my head and ask why?

Now, don't get me wrong, I love a cool label, or a clever ad as much as anyone, but still, if the product behind the ad or label is just not good, then all you have in the end is just a cool label, or funny ad. You put a quality product behind that, and you have a real money maker on your hands!

Until next time
Bottoms Up my friends!
The Beer Czar

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