Recently Miller Lite has been running a series of “Man Up” Beer commercials. All of them seem to suggest if you’re not drinking Miller Lite you’re not a “Real Man” and need to “man up” and order a Miller Lite. Clearly Miller is trying to imply that drinking other kinds of beers is for sissies. Order something else and you risk having your masculinity questioned by a pretty lady, and who wants that? Sure it’s funny to see these guys prance around with a lower back tattoo, but how many men who care how their beer tastes drink Miller Lite?
On my last installment I looked at the troubling identities of women in beer commercials, and I ended by posing the question: how come we only see this type thing from the big, macrobrewers? How come Sam Adams, Stone, and Rogue never try to make me feel bad about myself?
On the most recent episode of Current TV’s Infomania, the re-occurring “Modern Lady” segment set its sights on beer commercials and the women who populate them. I know what you’re thinking: surprise, surprise – sexist beer commercials. Go figure. But “Modern Lady” actually points to a interesting trend in the way that beer commercials are promoting their particular sexist worldview. Erin Gibson points out that while older beer commercials focused on women as busty, bikini-clad, beach bunnies, newer commercials are casting women as nagging, narrow-minded, negative Nancys. As she puts it, “women in beer commercials have gone from big-boobied eye-candy to THE ENEMY.”
We’ve discussed the unfortunate business decisions made by the big corporate brewing companies many times. I really thought I’d seen it all when it came to dumb and gimmicky ways to sell watery, tasteless beer, but I never saw this coming. MillerCoors has unveiled a new bottle for Miller Lite, dubbed the “Vortex Bottle,” which has specially designed grooves in the neck to “create a vortex as you’re pouring the beer.” This might be the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. I haven’t been able to get my hands on one of these beauties yet, but I have to assume it’s suppose to twist and spin the beer as it comes out, therefore somehow making it taste better . . . or something. It seems to me all it will do is make for a foamy pour and momentarily distract for the fact that what’s in the bottle is the same tasteless stuff it always has been.
It some ways it doesn’t surprise me that they are resorting to tactics like a “vortex bottle” or a Coors Light 12-pack box with a window in it. All of these are changes to the presentation and packaging of their beer, not the actual beer itself. With craft beer now the fastest rising segment of alcohol in America, the big brewers know that they can no longer get by claiming their taste is superior as more and more people are trying and enjoying quality craft beer that tastes good. Honestly, I’d be shocked if we don’t see more of these kind of scams. I’m going to take it as a good sign- the more ridiculous they get, the more desperate it means they are because craft beer continues to grow.
During the advertising blitz of this year’s Superbowl Anheuser-Busch pushed their latest creation, Budweiser Select 55. It’s a 55 calorie light lager that’s clearly a direct challenge to MGD 64, SABMiller’s similar light lager with 64 calories per 12 oz serving. While light beer is certainly nothing new, this tug of war between the two companies is a trend we’re not pleased about.
What a lot of people don’t realize about these super light beers is that they’re not just light in calories (and taste) they’re also light in alcohol. Both Select 55 and MGD 64 are just 2.8% alcohol by volume. That’s low, even by light lager standards. Michelob Ultra, the first ‘super light’ lager at 95 calories is 4.2%, the same as Bud Light. To get the same amount of alcohol from Select 55 or MGD 64 as Bud Light you’d pretty much have to drink twice as much, all but negating any of the caloric benefits. Without the promise of lower calories is there any reason to drink these beers? let’s face it, if you’re drinking them it’s certainly not for the taste, it’s for the alcohol and the perceived lack of calories. So really, why bother? If you’re looking for a low calorie alcoholic drink you’re really better off drinking a simple cocktail like vodka tonic or something.
If on the other hand you’re interested in drinking beer because you enjoy beer and you enjoy the way it tastes, you should try drinking a real beer that’s brewed for taste not calories. We’re all for healthy living and watching what you eat and drink but as we’ve said before, counting calories when it comes to beer just doesn’t make sense. Is anyone really concerned about the 9 calories you save by drinking Select 55 over MGD 64? Despite the suggestions of Anheser-Busch and SabMiller, quality beer doesn’t have that many more calories than light beer. Although Guinness is sometimes referred to as “liquid bread” due to its perceived heaviness, it only has 17 more calories per serving than Bud Light. Hopefully this race for the lightest beer possible will fade away like the silly trend it is, but in the meantime take a stand for real beer that’s made for taste, not calories and enjoy craft beer.
What do you think of this race for the lowest calorie beer? Let us know in the comments or on twitter.
On Sunday the New Orleans Saints came back from behind to beat the Indianapolis Colts and win their very first NFL Championship. It was a great game, but it wasn’t the only reason to watch the Super Bowl. Every year many tune in just to watch the creative and big-budget commercials that are showcased between plays. Beer commercials are always a staple of this yearly tradition, and Super Bowl XLIV was no exception. Here’s a quick look at what beer ads there were this year.
The most dominate beer ads this time were Bud Light’s “Here We Go” ads. This series features various situations in which people unexpectedly discover large amounts of Bud Light. A spontaneous party erupts regardless of everyone’s current circumstances fun is had by all. Take a look at this one set on a deserted island following a plane crash.
The others follow the same basic template with different settings – an observatory, a book club, etc. The most notable thing about all of these ads is how little they actually focus on the beer or its quality. This was a theme which was also evident in this year’s Budweiser Clydesdale ad, which had almost nothing to do with beer.
Perhaps the decision to focus more on the social aspects of Budweiser beers rather than its taste or quality is indication that Americans are becoming savvier about beer. With craft beer steadily growing in popularity, more and more people are trying quality beer and realizing how much light lagers like Budweiser lack. Anheuser-Busch can no longer get away with bragging about their taste, because people know theirs better things out there.
and Budweiser Select 55:
These are beers which are brewed to be as light as possible, Michelob Ultra was the first, weighing in at 95 calories per serving. The success of Ultra led to Michelob coming out with MGD 64, which has just 64 calories per serving. Budweiser Select is the latest in this category, with, as you might guess, 55 calories per serving.
We’ve looked at these beers in articles before. As we said previously, beer isn’t a sports drink. It isn’t something that should be enjoyed for the dietary benefits, it should be enjoyed for the taste. The caloric difference between these beers are slight to say the least. Are the six calories you save by drinking Select 55 really going to matter much? We certainly don’t think so. As we pointed out before, the caloric difference between Ultra and regular ‘non sport’ beers isn’t that much either. We’re all for staying healthy and watching what you eat and drink, but we feel the amount of calories you save by drinking these super light beers hardly make up for the significant loss in taste.
What did you think of these year’s ads? Let us know in the comments.
Budweiser is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and well known American beers around the world. Thanks to its countless commercials proclaiming it the “King of Beers” and “The Great American Lager” coupled with its near universal availability in the US, it’s hard to think of American beer without thinking of Budweiser. Unfortunately, Budweiser isn’t American at all, it’s Czech. That’s right, the beer that is most synonymous with America was actually stolen from a brewery in what today is the Czech Republic.
Pilsner, the style of beer Budweiser attempts to replicate, is originally a Czech style of beer. Originating in the Czech town of Pilsen, Pilsner is a German word which means “from Pilsen.” The first clue that the Great American Lager actually isn’t all that great or American comes from its name. ‘Budweiser’ is also a German word, meaning “from Budweis,” which is a town in the Czech Republic. When German-American immigrant Adolphus Busch started selling Budweiser in 1876, he decided to name it after the town he got the recipe from, Budweis. This wasn’t something the people of Budweis were too pleased about of course, considering they’d been brewing their own Budweiser beer since the 14th century.
As a result Anheuser-Busch and Budejovicky Budvar, the brewery in Budweis which sells the original Budweiser, have been locked in copyright disputes ever since. Currently they’ve reached an awkward truce which allows A-B to sell its beer in the US under the name ‘Budweiser’ while in most of Europe it must be sold as simply ‘Bud’ and in Germany it’s sold under the awkward name ‘Anheuser-Busch B.’ Budejovicky Budvar for it’s part is allowed to sell their beer under Budweiser in Europe while having to go by ‘Budweiser Budvar’ here in the States.
To give A-B some credit, they didn’t simply ‘borrow’ the recipe and name from Budejovicky Budvar, they also dumbed down the recipe, replacing much of the barley and grains used in the Czech version with flavorless adjuncts like rice and corn. Nothing says American like stealing from other countries and making bland, watery beer. So I guess in a lot of ways Budweiser is the Great American Lager. God Bless America!
Budweiser has recently launched a major ad campaign centered around Bud Light’s unique ability to be placed in your mouth and swallowed, or as they refer to it, “drinkability.”
This is apparently something that sets Bud Light apart from other drinks. Really Budweiser? Let’s take a look at one of those ads.
I have to agree with Budweiser on a few points. Something is generally easier to drink when it’s not being sprayed at you from a hose at full blast, or not hot sauce, or not hail (which as a solid and not a liquid is in fact impossible to drink.) Last time I checked however none of the other light beers out there were any of these things, they were in fact beer, and generally served in glasses. So unless there’s some brewing company I don’t know about making a hail and Tabasco flavored beer that’s sprayed at you from a hose, I’m not sure if Budweiser is really making much of a claim for Bud Light.
As a followup to a recent post about hops I wanted to address the way this key ingredient in beer is sometimes portrayed by the major breweries in America. Recently Miller Lite has begun boasting about how they add hops to their beer not once, but three separate times during brewing.
They make it sound impressive, but the thing is you’re suppose to add hops three times during brewing, that’s just how you make beer. Just check John Palmer’s book about brewing, How to Brew; you’ll see that he instructs you to add hops three times during brewing. This is the reason that hops are divided into three different types: bittering hops, flavor hops and aroma (or finishing) hops, which Palmer also describes on that page.
The reason Miller and othe brewers can get away with such nonsense is that they count on the average beer drinker not actually knowing very much about beer. We here at Beeriety are aiming to change that, stay tuned to learn more about beer and beer culture.
Almost every macro-brewery has at one point or another laid claim to being the coldest brew at the store or on tap. We’ve all seen in countless TV commercials and Super Bowl spots where advertisers victoriously proclaim that their beer is always Ice Brewed or Cold Brewed or Frost Brewed or Glacier Brewed or some-other-cold-sounding-word brewed.
Coors Light with their recent “Our beer tastes like licking the Rockies” advertising shtick, is particularly guilty of this, just take a look at this ad featuring former NFL coach Bill Parcells. (Starts around the :30 mark)
34 degrees sounds pretty cold, right? Pretty impressive maybe? Let’s do some fact checking with John Palmer, author of the book How to Brew, a guide to home brewing. 34 degrees happens to be the exact temperature Palmer recommends for making lager in your kitchen. So way to go MillerCoors, you’ve managed to follow directions from a recipe and do something anyone with an old ice box and a couple of bags of ice can accomplish. Brilliant!
Beer companies are usually selling the message of Ice Cold Beer because they know it appeals to the consumers sense of refreshment. They are also willing to assume that the average American does not know how beer is made, much less what a hop is (a topic for a much larger post down the road).
Beeriety is here to change some of these myths by providing more information about beer, beer culture and homebrewing to the everyday drinker.