We wouldn’t normally share contrived wannabe-viral videos from breweries, especially big ones — someone, somewhere will be counting this, with glee, as ‘engagement’ — but as it’s a rare case of us getting a prediction right (item 5), we felt compelled.
What are they saying here? That the product is actually pretty inoffensive and more culturally significant than people give credit for (probably true) and that, more importantly, most of us bullshitters can’t really tell the difference anyway (maybe somewhat true).
On Friday, we asked people to tell us which breweries they think get more than their fair share of attention, and which are being overlooked.
The results were interesting, though perhaps not quite in the way we had hoped.
There are going on for c.1,300 breweries in Britain (the numbers are disputed) but there were hardly any names put forward for either list that were not familiar to us from blog posts or newspaper articles. That rather confirmed our view that, if no-one is raving about Bloggs’s Brew Co of Dufton, it’s probably because the beer it produces is, at best, unremarkable. Or, to put that another way, there are only a handful of breweries really worth writing home about.
A brewery does something annoying or offensive — what do you do?
If you don’t challenge, you’re letting them off the hook.
But if you write or Tweet about it, you shine a light on their stunt — just what they want — and your reaction, however negative, ends up being counted as an ‘engagement’ in a marketing executive’s ‘return on investment’ report.
It will probably also gain them even more attention when it’s reported as ‘BEER GEEKS OUTRAGED’ in the trade press two days later.
We tend to ignore, because, frankly, stunts are boring, and ignoring is easier… but should we?
As for the mention of hype, we did, unfortunately, have in mind Siren/Magic Rock/Beavertown Rule of Thirds. (We say ‘unfortunately’ because it has become the centre of some fractious debate between brewers and drinkers.) Back in October, it was trailed thus:
The Rule of Thirds takes 1/3 of each of our individual recipes and process’ & promises to bring together the best of each of our flagships and come up with something greater than the sum of the parts. Which is no small boast.
Last year, big players in the beer industry banded together to run a campaign called Let There Be Beer.
Its ostensible aim was to raise the profile of beer in general terms but, in practice, it ended up being a series of excruciatingly bald product placement opportunities for those who’d provided the funding, e.g. Carlsberg.
As far as we can tell, the public were indifferent — we didn’t see any mention of it among our ‘not beer’ friends on Facebook, for example — and beer geeks, on the whole, found it rather reprehensible. Regulators weren’t keen, either, which seems to have been the final nail in its coffin.