Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

February 9, 2015

Beer Diary:

Beating a Dead Clydesdale

We pile on with some more thoughts about an obscene amount of money spent on a dying brand.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
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As everyone knows, February is International Month here at, and this month I’d like to talk about the world’s most recognizable foreign-owned beer producer, AB-InBev and, more specifically, the stupid Budweiser ad they ran during last week’s Super Bowl.

I’m sure everyone is more than sick of rehashing it, so I’m not going to go into how scared and pathetic it makes the company look, or how they pissed all over some of their employees and even their own products. No, for starters, I’d like to point out that, despite everyone commenting on how “tone-deaf” the ad’s message makes AB-InBev look, it made perfect sense to the marketing people that run the company.

The ad was meant to shore up Budweiser’s spectacularly declining consumer base.
The ad wasn’t for AB-InBev in general, but Budweiser, just one—albeit the oldest and most iconic—of the company’s brands. And this is the way large corporations think: in brands. They were reinforcing the brand among its consumer base, even to the detriment of AB-InBev’s other brands, like Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, and the freshly acquired Elysian. While this makes absolutely no sense to a craft brewer—pretend Three Floyds put some promo copy on their bottle of Dreadnaught about how it’s not for limp-wristed drinkers of crappy pilsners while right next to it in the cooler is their pilsner, Jinxproof—it is standard operating procedure for big companies. They know no one who likes craft beer is drinking Budweiser and has no intention to. The ad was meant to shore up Bud’s spectacularly declining consumer base, to make them feel special and different for standing up to the changing landscape of the American beer drinker.

(An aside: the ad implies that craft beer drinkers are hipsters, which leaves me confused. Are we hipsters or geeks? Because those two words are antonyms. Pick a pejorative and go with it, people!)

(Another aside: I find it ironically amusing that beer dorks are referred to as hipsters. That means I, Eddie Glick, am “hip.” I can safely say that during my long, pointless existence on this planet, I have never, ever been anything close to what anyone not needing serious psychotherapy would think of as “hip.”)

Only a tiny fraction of consumers—basically, beer dorks like us—know that AB-InBev owns the brands it shit all over.
Besides, only a tiny fraction of consumers—basically, beer dorks like us—know that AB-InBev owns the brands it shit all over, along with all the other beers worth “fussing over.” Hell, I’m guessing your average Bud drinker doesn’t know AB-InBev makes any other brands other than Bud Light, let alone that the company is foreign-owned. And the marketing in St. Louis not only know this, but are counting on it.

One last thought about this sixty seconds of cultural minutiae AB-InBev spent nine million dollars (that’s $150,000 a second) on: I loved it. Why? Because it takes away one more leg from AB-InBev apologists to stand on. An ad this expensive and this high profile went all the way to the top for approval. And what it says is loud and clear: “We think craft beer is a fad. People who drink it are just following the latest trend and will move on to the next thing when it comes along.” So the next fuckhead who says AB-InBev isn’t that bad, it doesn’t hurt anything for them to buy craft breweries, bully local brewers out of the market, take up tap handles and shelf space using shady if not outright illegal tactics, needs to explain one thing to me: am I a hipster or geek? Because I really need to know.

This is really awesome. I never thought that @ almost 67 years old and a product of Mississippi cotton fields that in my life I would ever be even considered "HIP". But in light of this article I have become that person. Ten Fidy rules.
posted by Jimmy Lewellen | February 20, 2015, 6:55 AM