Thursday, May 10, 2012

In the Matrix, people drink crap beer because they don't know any better.

Here are two companion articles that may be a "red pill" of sorts. I am feeling like a beer missionary right now!

Grab Me a Warm One!
Don’t believe Coors and Budweiser—cold temperatures ruin good beer.
There’s practically no beer worth drinking that should be served below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Some styles, like double IPAs and British bitters, are at their best around 55 degrees. But walk into any bar, even one serious about craft beer, and you’re likely to be served beer that’s close to freezing, often in a misguidedly chilled mug.
Where did this practice of deep freezing beer come from? While the cold neuters tasty beers, it masks the flaws of flavorless macrobrews. So it’s no surprise that the corporate brewers who make Budweiser, Miller, and Coors fill their ads with images of frosty mugs, snowy peaks, and bikini-clad babes frolicking improbably in fake snow. Coors Light has invested the most in frigidness, famously deploying the dopey gimmick of erecting mountains on its labels that turn blue when the beer is “cold enough.”
Too true. Next time you order craft beer and you see frost on the glass, do yourself a favor and wait to drink it. Or warm it with your hands.You will taste the difference, and you will love it. I promise. But if you've gone ahead and ordered the standard BudMillerCoors, then yes, drink it quickly while it's cold.

Can Beer Save America?
For decades, the big brewers (Anheuser Busch, MillerCoors, etc.) have marketed their products less on the basis of taste or quality than on identity branding. What you drank subsequently became a statement not necessarily of what your taste buds enjoyed, but of your self-image. The Miller versus Budweiser wars and Old Milwaukee ads, for instance, were so often a pitch to guys looking for working-class street cred. Meanwhile, Pabst Blue Ribbon lately has been pitched as a retro-themed statement of hipster style.
This kind of marketing made a certain sense, because while macrobrew brands are certainly appealing, the actual beers in question are basically terrible. Produced through the macrobrews’ low-price, high-volume process, they don’t contain high-quality ingredients, they don’t contain much alcohol and, thus, they simply don’t taste good. Knowing this, the macrobrews have logically designed their marketing campaigns to focus on everything (the can, the type of people who drink it, the logo, etc.) but the actual product. Indeed, if there’s one ubiquitous reference that macrobrewing companies make to the beer itself, it’s usually one telling you how cold the beer is or should be — a temperature that, quite deliberately, helps hide just how bad the beer actually is.
In the last few years, small brewers have filled the vacuum left by macrobrewers, specifically marketing higher-priced products based on premium quality and taste. It’s been a wildly successful endeavor. 2011’s sales results tell that story: In a year that saw an overall decline in the beer market, the craft brewing industry increased its year-to-year sales by 15 percent and substantially grew its share of the total market.
The headline overall is kind of silly, but the article has some encouraging news! There is something to be said for quality, even at a higher price point, and even in the face of strong marketing.

I also feel there is an interesting point to make about overall cost when you consider volume of consumption. A 6 pack of Coors Light is anywhere between $4-7 at most stores. The average person would have to drink about 3 or 4 12oz cans of Coors Light, at 4% ABV, to even start to feel a buzz. In contrast, you can buy a 22oz bottle of Stone Double Bastard, a flavorful and strong beer at 10.5% ABV, for about $6-7 in most stores in California. My decision is obvious, if I'm staring down the two in a store and they cost about the same. I do get less of the Stone for the same price, but I don't need any more than I'm buying for that price. I'd have to drink most of the 6 pack to get the same buzz as I would get drinking the Stone, effectively drinking nearly the same amount of dollars in one sitting. And I'd enjoy it much, much less.

1 comment:

  1. Love your helpful beer posts! As you know, for the longest time, I thought I didn't like beer because I had only ever tried the shitty stuff. But as it turns out, I actually just don't like crap beer. Quality is definitely more important than quantity!