Does It Really Matter – Budweiser and ‘MacroBrews’ . . .


I really enjoyed the Super Bowl this past weekend. Yes, I was hoping the Patriots would win as I’m not a big Pete Carroll fan, but I was hoping for a close, exciting game and it certainly delivered on that! In addition, I always get together with a bunch of other folks to watch the game, including a few others who share birthdays around the same time as mine, and we just have a good time.

I’ve also enjoyed some of the commercials that have aired during the Super Bowl in the past, and this year’s was no different. Though there were plenty of ‘dark’ ones, I especially liked the Fiat and Coca-Cola ads – the former for its humor and the latter for its ‘feel good’ message.

For whatever reason, I do not remember the Budweiser ad that seems to have garnered a lot of attention and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I was grabbing for that second slider or grabbing another beer; or maybe I was making a pit stop.

In any event, it’s been interesting   reading the responses to that ad, so I finally had a chance to view it this morning, and I really do not understand why folks are reacting the way that they are. To me, this ad states what Bud is trying to convey quite clearly – their beer is a ‘classic’ and one meant to drink but not ‘analyze’.

This reminds me a lot of what continues   to happen in the wine industry. Look, if you’re reading this, you would probably put yourself in the camp of a ‘somewhat knowledgeable wine consumer’. Therefore, because of this, you’re supposed to ‘laugh’ when I say things like White Zinfandel and Sweet Moscato, right?

Guess what – not everyone is into discussing the next great IPA or whether this sour beer is more or less sour than the next one. Yes, there certainly are plenty of ‘beer geeks’ out there who love discussing these things – and think nothing about spending  upwards of $20 or more for a six pack or its equivalent of a ‘micro brew’ beer. That’s cool and I get it and have even been guilty of partaking in a few of these.

For the vast majority of consumers, though, this really may not have much appeal to them, just as a ‘natural wine’ or a ‘terroir driven Chinon’ may not to the majority of wine drinkers. This ‘pompous’ attitude (yep, I said it) will simply lead to ‘splintering’ in the beer drinking community, with folks ‘taking sides’. And ultimately, this will lead to a maxing out of how large the beer drinking community will be. And to me, this lay at the heart of what the ad was trying to convey.

Some of you are saying, ‘That’s cool. Keep the craft brew market small.’ Okay, but the growth in the craft brew industry is not based on ‘keeping it small’. It’s based on creating a wider audience for all of the products – whether it by Pliny The Elder or a smoked Stout from San Diego County. Without a growing market, you will not see new companies jumping in, and you will not see the selection and reach of the current companies sustaining.

So I say kudos to Bud for understanding who they are and trying to leverage that in an ever-increasingly snobby craft brew market!

I’m sure you have your opinion on this – let’s hear it!