The Discernible Dissing of Craft Beer By Budweiser

Another “Super Big Football Game” in the books. I was in Gainesville at a Bold City Brewery event at World of pumpkin peach aleBeer for the entire game – companion loved it – he was able to see every play of the game.

Now a week later, I have compiled the comments I have overheard from customers during the various discourses at Silver Cow and those companion has overheard at his work into a stack of opinions I have started sorting through.

“Discourse” … hmmm … a wonderful word meaning, “written or spoken communication or debate”. Break it down. Uh-oh. Those three little letters, “d .. i .. s”. Dis.

In modern usage, “dis” has come to mean, “speak disrespectfully to or criticize” as a verb and ”disrespectful talk” as a noun. Negative. Like disjointed, disabled, disadvantage, disagreeable, disappointing, disapproved, disbanded, discarded, discomfort, disdain … I’m sure you can think of others.

Was it the last minute call for a pass instead of a run that has been the topic of discussion? To some disgruntled Seattle fans, maybe. However, it was a Budweiser commercial which has displeased craft beer lovers across the entire country. You saw it. You felt it.

Craft beer was dissed. As I mentioned in a recent article (http://www.jaxbrewbitch.com/?p=18426) and republished by Void Magazine online (http://voidlive.com/food/assault-north-floridas-breweries/), Big Beer would be coming out soon with new commercials slamming craft beer drinkers. I just didn’t know it would be this soon.

Please read this article by E.J. Shultz (http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/bud-proudly-macro-swagger-filled-super-bowl-ad/296932/) and note what Budweiser VP Brian Perkins had to say about the basis for the commercial.

Mr. Perkins stated “This is not an attack on craft beer this is not an attack on competition. The only other budweiser_fussedbeer that we reference in the spot is a fabricated, ludicrous flavor combination of pumpkin peach ale.” … Distortion.

He goes on to say, “… occasionally we do have a little bit of fun with some of the overwrought pretentiousness that exists in some small corners of the beer landscape that is around beer snobbery. That is the antithesis of what Budweiser is all about.” … Disingenuous.

I’m sure the shareholders are disheartened to know that Mr. Perkins feels free to spend millions on a commercial to poke fun at “small corners of the beer landscape”. “Small corners of the beer landscape” – trying to make it seem like there are just small pockets of “beer snobs” around the country. A backhanded way of slamming ALL of us who enjoy the variety of styles and creativity of microbreweries. The idea of pockets which Mr. Perkins floats up is accurate, though the type of pockets he dismisses as unimportant. Because he knows something.

Mr. Perkins knows that the “small pockets” of folks in the “small corners” of the beer landscape are increasingly choosing to place the money pulled out of those pockets into the hands of microbreweries instead of into the coffers of Big Beer. He has to deal with this reality on a daily basis – in order to keep his job. THAT’S why he felt justified in Budweiser spending millions of dollars to “poke fun” during the Big Game”.

Mr. Perkins also knows that once a Big Beer drinker finds at least one microbrew style they like, they will never return to the world of Big Beer. They have nothing to offer a craft beer convert.

As Mr. Shultz notes in his article, “He (Mr. Perkins) said the goal of the ad, called “Brewed the Hard Way,” is to “talk in a positive, affirming way about Budweiser quality.” The ad, for instance, touts Bud’s “beechwood aged” brewing process that, as the spot notes, has been in place since 1876.”

Think back to when you used to buy Big Beer. Did you choose Budweiser because you knew it was made with a “beechwood aged brewing process”? Not likely. Your disaffection for Big Beer came about due to your preference for more flavorful brews.

Big Beer has an opportunity here. Investing in or purchasing outright successful microbreweries and then LEAVING THEM ALONE. Big Beer, EMBRACE the new beer culture and support it by putting money where more and more mouths are being watered. Beats wasting resources on developing and presenting discordant commercials.

The outcry brought forth by this dismissive commercial has been significant, funny and heartwarming to microbrewery owners and staffs all over. Social media has exploded with reactions to it – and counter-disparaging photos of toilets reportedly holding Big Beer type fluid flood the internet.

So, as craft beer lovers, let’s do something positive. As I point out in my other article noted above, invite a Big Beer drinker out for an evening. Respect your friend’s palate – and look for a “beginner” craft beer. Consider springing for it. We need to gain more loyal craft beer enthusiasts – and it’s time to focus on that.

When we do, we bring about some positive “dis” meanings.

Discover, Disciples, Distinguished.