Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Boycott Budweiser II: So What Should I Drink?

“Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy...unless it's been brewed by Anheuser-Busch because fuck those guys." -- Benjamin Franklin  

Forgive Cataline for quoting Cataline.

Budweiser is, simply put, awful.  It is fermented piss colored lager. It obviously uses so much rice in it's grain mash than I am honestly surprised that it is legally allowed to be called beer.  There is no part of drinking a Bud that is enjoyable.  The after-taste is metallic even when it comes out of a bottle,  The aromatics are just...wrong.  The flavor itself is weak and well...flavorless.    

Anheuser-Busch is single handedly responsible for America having had a decades long reputation for producing the worst beer on the planet.

This raises the very simple question of how the fuck did they stay...not just in business...but at the top of the mountain?

The answer to that one was consumer identification. Bud may have been awful but it was a right of passage for any blue collar teenager. Sure it was awful stuff but only faggots and sailors drank any other brand. Claiming you liked any other label was the same as saying you didn't like working on your truck. Hell it was the same as saying you didn't like trucks. It was like saying you preferred quiche to barbecue. Bud had so guarded their reputation as the Beer of autoworkers, rednecks and hilljacks, that claiming you didn't like that shit seriously called your masculinity into question, to say nothing of your patriotism.

And now that isn't anywhere near good enough for them. Bud wants to be the king of SJW beers. I have no idea what the fuck is going on in their marketing department.  But I have seen a company so entrenched in the market place suddenly give itself over so wholeheartedly to it own brand rape.

You would have thought that A-B would have learned something...anything from it's disastorous Bud Light Party campaign.  Featuring Seth Rogen and Amy (fucking) Schumer.  This series of ads appears to have been quite deliberately designed to crush their own core market.  It was almost like this was a parody ad campaign being conducted against them by a Coors.

Here was the result in A-B's own words.

Despite continued positive signs in brand health evolution, driven by millennials and Hispanics, 3Q was the softest performance of Bud Light for the year from a volume and share perspective,” Bud Light senior director of marketing communications Lisa Weser told Adweek. “The Bud Light Party campaign helped us improve these brand attributes, but it did not translate to improved volume and share performance. While we are clearly not satisfied with Bud Light’s performance, we are already leveraging what we’ve learned to develop and execute new work.”

Translation: our attempts to make hipsters think we are cool was successful but they still won't touch our fermented pig swill.

The problem being that Millennials know shit beer when they taste it and aren't going to touch this stuff.

Fifteen years ago relations between the Majors and the Micros were quite cordial indeed.  The big guys were happy to give the little guys special behind the scenes tours.  There was a bit of corporate nostalgia going on for early days of the business.  The Micros for their part admitted to admiration for the scale on which the Majors could produce their product.  Now the Micros knew perfectly well that their stuff was drastically better in every possible way but they also freely admitted that they couldn't possibly produce their own stuff on that scale and maintain quality.

The Majors knew about this bottleneck too and sat back as relaxed and secure in their complete corporate marketplace dominance as IBM was in 1980.

Ten years ago the lawfare nuisance suits and distributorship pressure began.  While the quality bottleneck theoretically in place there had been a seismic eruption in the number of bottlenecks that were now in play.

Two years ago the Busch family smelled the wind and sold out while the selling was pretty damn good.

American as apple pie Budweiser was now foreign owned company.   

Okay, Cataline, What should I drink?

You have asked and Cataline answers.  Drink locally.  By now you've got a local brewery within spitting distance.

Pictured: spitting distance

Here are some things you should look for in a good brewery.  

1. First and foremost a complete lack of decor, you cannot trust a well decorated brewery... you just can't. 

2.  A dude in waders wearing a man-bun or dreadlocks.   I know, I know.  While I loath hipsters on general principle I will grant without rancor that they are good cooks and great brewers.  Honestly it gives me just the smallest bit of hope for the future.  There is some drive in there somewhere, a desire to be the best at something.

3.  Awards on the walls that are recent.  A total lack of awards doesn't mean so much, maybe the brewer has bunch of bronze awards and he's embarressed to show them off.  That's okay.  Bronze is okay*.  It's more of problem if those awards are ten years old.  That means the brew master who won them has taken off.

4.  Ask your friends.  Because that is ultimately what beer is all about.  Good times with your friends.   The hard stuff is a lonely man's companion.  The guy who needs a hard break from harder reality.  Beer just stretches you bit, it doesn't go in for ugly transformation. 

Okay, now for Cataline's choice of favorite beer as requested by the the hoards of my loyal reader (AKA: Jew613)

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout.  I can find about two bottles a year of this stuff now.  But my homebrew clone is now considered by all who have tasted it, superior to the original in every way available to it so I can live with that. 

Beyond that it gets seasonal for me.  I like heavy ales when it's cold and lighter stuff in summer.  Low alcohol session ales if its going to be a long night with friends.  Something good and cold after I'm done with an afternoon of lawn work in July.  

Nothing with Pumpkin in it...ever...at all...under any circumstances...I hope that's clear.

*In case you wondering Cataline's home brewing awards are two Golds and a Silver...just so you know.


Jew613 said...

The equivalent to Budweiser in Israel is Gold Star/Maccabee. Their beer isn't very good but at least they don't insult their customers. There are some Israeli craft beers that are pretty good. But I have a theory that the best beers are made by Americans with German ancestry. So to find a yeki from America in Israel making beer is a challenge.

I happen to love Samuel Adams in particular their Winter Lager. It's a pain but it is possible to get it in Israel sometimes. I know they are considered a micro-brew and paved the way for countless other much smaller breweries. Though at this point they produce 2.7 million barrels a year so I don't know if they can really still be considered a craft beer.

bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) said...

so you're telling me that Nate chose to live in the center of a craft beer desert?