marketing pubs

Green beer – good gimmick?

Green beer by Stringberd at FlickrNo, I’m not talking about environmental issues for once. During the recent spell of hot weather, I ended up in Dogget’s Coat and Badge, by Blackfriars bridge. With around a fifteen minute wait to get to the bar, I told my friend to get me the first ale she could see.

She came back with Sign of Spring, by Stonehenge Ales. It was very green.

I’ve had green beers before, most notably Berliner Kindl-Weiss mit schuss, and something Polish with some additive in it. I expect green beers to taste of something other than beer, so it was quite confusing to my senses to realise that this beer was just a normal, rather pleasant, ale. Trouble is, I was so focused on it not tasting green that I can’t really remember what it did taste like.

The advantage of colouring your beer green is that it attracts attention – at least two people asked me what I was drinking, and a few more were staring at it. So perhaps it’s a shrewd marketing gimmick. On the other hand, as with silly names, any kind of gimmick with beer automatically makes me think the beer itself won’t be any good. For example, Andreea reviewed a green beer on her blog recently, where the only point of interest seemed to be its colour.

So is it a good gimmick? If I’d known the beer was green, I probably wouldn’t have ordered it. Then again, at least I remembered it.


Dogget’s Coat and Badge is right next to Blackfriars bridge and has fabulous river views. I’d always assumed it would be awful, for some reason, probably to do with the queues, but actually, it’s pretty decent. They had at least three real ales on (not your usual suspects either), and Fruli on tap. It’s made me decide to (re)visit all these riverside pubs that I’d written off in the past.

Stonehenge Ales seem like a very interesting lot. I’ve had their Danish Dynamite before and thought it was lovely, although I can’t remember many details about it. (Pale and hoppy?) Unfortunately, their website appears to be malfunctioning at the moment, so I haven’t included a link, but you can read Adrian Tierney-Jones on Stonehenge and other small West Country breweries here. UPDATE: they’ve fixed the site, which you can find here.

Photo courtesy of Stringberd at Flickr, under a Creative Commons license.

3 replies on “Green beer – good gimmick?”

Starobrno, one of Heineken’s local minions, came out with a greenish beer for last year’s Easter. It was alright, nothing remarkable but certainly drinkable, and, for what I know, quite successful if the pub at my village is anything to go by (they sold it out very quickly, and we are speaking about very beer conservative patrons).
So much so, that this year they came out with it again, this time greener. I tasted it the other day (quite far from Easter) and it was the same beer, though with a rather suspicious sugary flavour. Don’t know what colouring they use for it, though.

I suppose if it gets people talking about it it is a good marketing ploy. But for me the colour of the beer is part of the all round experience, and green is my least favourite colour.

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