Category Archives: marketing

World Lager Disguised as Craft Beer

Empty skull illustration.

Pistonhead Lager from Sweden’s Brutal Brewing seems, superficially, to be ‘well craft’.

It comes in a can.

A tiny, expensive can, bedecked with cartoon skulls, stylish typography and lifestyle rhetoric: “Pistonhead supports live music, Rock n Roll attitudes and good times.”

And yet it tastes… like Carling. That is, fine, but with a nasty edge in the warm dregs.

It’s bland beer targeted at people who don’t want to look like they drink bland beer — some of the BrewDog attitude without the flavour to back it up.

We’re bracing for more of this kind of thing in years to come.


1950s Beer Mats

We picked up these among a bundle of 16 for £4.99 inc. delivery on Ebay.

Haves and Have-nots

Stampede by Gopal Vijayaraghavan.
Stampede by Gopal Vijayaraghavan, from Flickr, under Creative Commons.

This morning, Huddersfield’s Magic Rock made Un-Human Cannonball, their 12% 11% ‘Triple IPA’, available for purchase. It sold out online within 20 minutes.

The last week has seen a constant buzz from beer geeks, trigger fingers twitching over mouse buttons, desperate to get their hands on this limited edition, once-a-year speciality. Though we’ve generally been very impressed by Magic Rock’s beer, we refused to play.

Beer, we’re beginning to think, ought to be a repeatable experience. That’s one reason we prefer St Bernardus Abt 12 to Westvleteren 12, and probably why our ‘cellar’ is full of ‘special’ beers we never seem to get round to drinking.

And, anyway, how good can this particular beer actually be?

For all our aloofness, though, when the starter’s gun sounded, we did, for a brief moment, feel the urge to join the race — to avoid being ‘left behind’ and place ourselves among the raptured:

The fact is, this kind of marketing event just works. If we ran a brewery, we’d be doing exactly the same.

If you’re in Manchester or London and want another shot at getting your hands on UHC, there are launch events taking place this evening at the Port Street Beer House and Craft Beer Company (Islington) respectively. Good luck!

You’ve Got To Be In It to Win It

Some British beers from Dark Star, Thornbridge et al.

Your beer might be the best in the world but that counts for nothing if no-one gets the opportunity to buy it.

There are always interesting nuggets arising from the now annual Golden Pints event whereby (mostly UK-based) beer bloggers name their beers and bars of the year. This year, what leapt out at us were repeated mentions for the Citra pale ale Oakham Ales brew exclusively for supermarket Marks & Spencer.

Citra is a great beer, but is it really better than many other similar citrus-hoppy golden ales on the market? Or just more readily available?

There are beers we thought about nominating ourselves but couldn’t because we’d only had one pint or bottle. Ideally, we have to feel we’ve got to know any beer we’re going to name as a Golden Pint, which automatically precludes many one-offs and obscurities.

We don’t know how much money Oakham make from selling beer to and through M&S, or whether there’s any profit for Brewdog in the Punk IPA sold in Tesco for next to nothing, but, even if it didn’t bring in a penny, it would be worth doing as an exercise in promoting ‘brand awareness’.

Eno Sarris at Beergraphs said the following in a recent post about how beer ratings relate to sales:

What the top beers to have, though, are great distribution. And that’s not a brain-buster, but it’s fun to see it here: to sell a lot of beers, you have to be in a lot of places.

We’d say there’s a sweet spot between mass-market volume production and complete obscurity where sales beget ratings beget sales.