Friday, February 6, 2015

The Feeling is Mutual Budweiser

You got us, Bud! 
So I might be beating a dead horse with this one, but I wrote this right after the Super Bowl and then got distracted by Chocolate Ale. Since then, about 800,000 other people have already written comments and responses to the now infamous Budweiser Super Bowl Super Slam on craft beer. But, since I already went to the effort of writing it, and since, who knows, maybe some of you have been living under a giant Chocolate Ale magnum since Sunday, I'm posting it anyways.

Here's the ad in case you missed it and care to be offended by its shameless stereotyping:





So now you know that Budweiser isn't something to be fussed over or smelled or tasted--it's only for "drinking." I imagine you already knew this, though. What you probably didn't know was that to make a product only meant for "drinking" takes some serious effort. So even though you're not supposed to care what Budweiser tastes or smells like, the brewers at AB still waste their time brewing it the "hard way."

The sad fact of the matter is that it's true that AB brews their beer the hard way. If they brewed it the real traditional way, it would cost too much money for them to produce. So in order to brew the beer to be the absolute cheapest possible product they have to use all sorts of fancy brewery engineering techniques that no real traditional brewer would ever utilize.

And let's set the record straight on beechwood aging once and for all. The only purpose beechwood aging serves is to speed up the lagering process and boost profits. The beechwood draws out yeast and proteins among other things in the beer faster than would naturally occur during lagering. AB even goes through an extensive bleaching process of the beechwood so that it won't contribute any flavor whatsoever to the beer.

There's other cheaper ways to do this like using diatomaceous earth or PVPP. The only reason AB still uses the beechwood aging is because it's been the hallmark of their advertising for the last 125 years. It's the only proof they can come up with to substantiate Budweiser as the most expensive beer in the world and it's the only thing they can think of that separates them from the other macro beers.

Now if this ad were true and not just some management team's pathetic attempt to sell beer, why on Earth does AB waste its time producing a whole bunch of craft beer wannabes like Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat, Shock Top Spiced Banana Wheat and Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. If pumpkin peach beer is for pretentious snobs who want silly and frivolous flavors in their beers, what are pretzel and spiced banana flavors doing in their products? Also, in a particularly hilarious ironic twist, AB-InBev just bought out a brewery that produces a pumpkin peach beer. So the marketing geniuses actually denigrated their own products and their own consumers. Bravo.

This us-versus-them style advertising seems to be an attempt to stop the hemorrhaging of Budweiser drinkers and galvanize their beer base. Budweiser has been the brewery's core beer for the last 125 years, but its sales have dropped nearly 70% in the last 25 years. But they can't just abandon the brand for fear of tarnishing their faux "traditional brewery" reputation. On the other hand, they recognize that no craft beer drinkers are going to be converted to the brand, so I guess they figure they can just use us as an out-group for the macro drinkers to ridicule. Nothing makes friends like having a common enemy.

For a long time I've been pretty neutral on the macros. I wouldn't say I ever particularly enjoyed them, but definitely drank them from time to time. But it's apparent now that Anheuser-Busch doesn't want me as a consumer.They paid $9 million to rub that fact in my face. But boycotting AB products isn't enough because we weren't drinking them anyways. We need to encourage our local pubs to pull macro tap handles in favor of craft and convert our friends and family members to drink craft. Forget the multinational mega-firms that don't care one bit about you, your community, or your beer. This is what we're really here for:

3 comments:

  1. Preach! Btw been keeping up with your blog for about three months. Midwest brewing is really getting interesting. Its nice to get a KC perspective. Keep up the good work.

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