Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

August 31, 2010

Beer Diary:

The Myth Of The Magic Beer Truck

Or, why you should care what other people drink.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
“Take it easy, Eddie,” the intrepid commentator tut-tutted me after one of my particularly vitriolic rants. “Who cares what somebody else drinks?”

This commentator—who went by the moniker “DC”—obviously is a firm believer in the Magic Beer Truck. He- wait, what? You say you haven’t heard of the Magic Beer Truck? Well, pull up a stool, crack open a nice craft brew (or home brew) and take a listen.

The Magic Beer Truck looks like any other beer truck you’ve seen cruising the highways and byways around your house. It usually is painted up with some popular beer brand like Budweiser or Miller Lite or Milwaukee’s Best Ice. But there’s something different—and oh so special—about this beer truck. First, it holds every beer that exists in the world. If you put together a list of the thousands and thousands of brands of beer, the Magic Beer Truck would have every beer on it. The other wonderful thing about the Magic Beer Truck is that the driver—who is not magical, even though he or she drives a Magic Beer Truck—just sticks a hand into the side of the truck and imagines what beer is needed, and the six-pack, case, quarter barrel, or half barrel simply appears in the driver’s hands, ready to be delivered to the tavern or retail establishment the Magic Beer Truck is parked in front of.

Like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and honest banking executives, the Magic Beer Truck doesn’t exist.
But like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and honest banking executives, the Magic Beer Truck doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, beer trucks have a finite capacity. And when that capacity is filled with cases, six packs, and half barrels of Bud Light, Budweiser, Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Miller High Life Light, Natural Light, Natural Light Ice, Busch Light, Coors Light, Coors, Milwaukee’s Best, Milwaukee’s Best Light, Milwaukee’s Best Ice, MGD 64, Bud Select 55, Michelob Ultra, Corona, Corona Light, Amstel Light, Heineken, Heineken Light, Old Milwaukee, Old Milwaukee Light, and Miller FUCKING Chill (in other words, a bunch of crappy ass beers that are exactly the same except for the colors and shapes on the labels) you don’t have a lot of room for craft beer, locally brewed or otherwise.

So that’s why you should care when someone you’re with decides to “trade up” from a Busch Light to a MGD 64 or give Corona a try because of the lime wedge in it. (Honestly, why the fuck can’t you just cram a goddamn piece of fruit into the bottle neck of ANY light beer and drink it and pretend it’s a Corona? It’ll taste exactly the same as a Corona with a chunk of lime crammed into it.) The more brands of basically the same swill that have to get crammed like a lime wedge into a Corona bottle onto the beer truck, the smaller selection of craft beer is going to be available to those of us who actually want to taste what we drink.

In the first six months of 2010, Bud Light Lime did at least $61.3 million in sales.
Let’s take, for example, Bud Light Lime. No harm in someone deciding she’ll give it a try tonight because the Bud Light Lime Girls are visiting the bar, or a guy saying he’ll drink that this summer instead of Bud Light, right? Well, apparently, a lot of people had that idea. In the first six months of 2010, Bud Light Lime did at least $61.3 million in sales1. That number is huge, but without context it shouldn’t mean anything. Let’s put it this way: that’s more than the sales of America’s two largest craft beers—Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sam Adams Boston Lager—combined. And with those kinds of numbers, retailers have to make shelf and cooler space for it, bars have to dedicate a tap handle to it, and distributors have to devote truck and warehouse space to it. And now that we know that there are no Magic Beer Trucks—or, for that matter, Enchanted Liquor Store Shelves or Walls of Infinite Tap Handles—we know that some brands of beer have to go to make space for Bud Light Lime. And guess which brands are the first to get the heave-ho? Here’s a hint: it’s not any that are in that list of generic toilet water listed above.

So what to do? The next time you’re with someone who wants to try Bud Light Lime or MGD 64 or some other piece of crap, say something like, “Hey, instead of trying something that tastes just like what you usually drink, why don’t you order a Bell’s Oberon/Great Lakes Dortmunder/Three Floyds Gumballhead/New Glarus Spotted Cow/Millstream Iowa Pale Ale/Summit Extra Pale Ale, because it’s got tons of flavor and it’s brewed right here in the Midwest/in the state/in this county/ACROSS THE FUCKING STREET.

Or you could just sit there on your ass. And the next time you walk into a bar or grocery store and see the Oberon or Spotted Cow or Fat Tire space filled with Bud Light Lime, you can scratch your head and assume that the Magic Beer Truck just hasn’t made the rounds yet.

Footnotes 1 Perspective,

Today is the feast day of St. Arnold, patron saint of beer.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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