Is Beer Marketing Effective?

This is what used to pass for beer advertising.

And it worked. I remember laughing at "Must be in the front row," as a child, and consequently drinking 1,436,754 Miller Lites once I become of legal* drinking age. (Disclaimer: The * is requested by CBS legal team, as the legal drinking age is subject to interpretation based on a variety of state laws and social mores. The bottom line is, as far as the writer is concerned, the statute of limitations has long since passed on his youthful misdeeds but the CBS legal team, which consists of Vic Sr. and the complete Law & Order: Criminal Intent DVD collection, doesn't want to have to defend this column in court.)

Now, the marketing money from beer is spent in a variety of ways, from social media to media blitzes over the latest ice cream beer collaboration. One of the most direct and obvious ways to market beer is through the can or the bottle, which is something we have discussed at my bar ( quite a bit lately.

Now, much like a hipster in skinny jeans, beer cans and bottles are all about emphasizing the package. And much like said hipster, sometimes the results are underwhelming or even off-putting.

On the left, we have a hipster, wearing skinny jeans and looking eminently smackable. On the right, we have The Brown Note, from Against the Grain, which is an excellent beer and a damn funny reference, packaged in a way to make the beer uninviting and undrinkable. In fact, I'd rather talk to the fuck on the left about his new vape rig than drink or even pour a beer from that can, which like William Shatner's acting, makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

With every other home brewer opening their own shop these days, standing out is more important than ever. I take no issue with companies swinging and missing on their logos, on their overall marketing, or even how they present their packages - if something works, go with it.

But as with any advertising, it's all about the return on investment. I don't have official sales data on various beers to compare marketing styles, and of course, there are other things that factor into sales. A once a year release, like Hopslam, could have a picture of an aborted fetus on it and it would still sell. You could put a picture of Kate Upton in the nude on other beers, and they would still be shelf turds.

Another comment that was made to me of late, along the same vein, was that Budweiser was a marketing company that makes beer. My response to that was, "And P&G is a marketing company that makes detergent." Delicious, delicious detergent, and more appetizing than that Brown Note can, but detergent nonetheless.

MMMMM ... Tide pods!

But once again, I digress.

The moral of the story here is that while shelves become more crowded than ever, we can expect even more outlandish packaging - and whichever brewery uses a shit ton of amarillo hops to have the first "soap pod NEIPA" with a picture of a dumbass foaming at the mouth on the can, wins.


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