Wired magazine has several full page advertisements for upmarket beer in its current issue, including Michelob’s range of fancy beers (maerzen, wheat, pale ale and porter).
This, coupled with their recent coverage of the hop shortage, suggests that the marketing men, at least, perceive a link between geekiness and the appreciation of beers other than American light lagers.
The Michelob ad is interesting. It talks about the particular malts used (with pictures) and explains how they’re responsible for the colour and flavour of the beer. In other words, they announce that beer, just like computers, music, TV, film and collecting plastic action figures, is something you can be geeky about.
They’re not advertising to beer geeks — they’re trying to create new ones loyal to their brand.