August 12 (Originally posted by Mireille)
A British friend of mine once described American beer thusly: “Its like having sex on a life raft– fucking close to water.”
With the pending purchase of Anheuser-Busch by the Belgian-Brazilian InBev, there has been a scramble to name the next great American-owned beer. Many assume that the Beer King’s perceived betrayal of his most ardent supporters, working class flag waving white men, will cause their loyalties to shift. In Anheuser-Busch’s defense, they have no plans to close their iconic St. Louis factory. On a personal note, it pains me to defend the company that is responsible for Nattie Light.
Salon has a run down of the contenders. It begins with an interesting analysis of the marketing strategy of Pabst, favorite of broke hipster kids because of its ‘lack of pretension’. It’s an good example of how subtle identity and ideology driven choices affect how a brand is perceived independent of their own marketing effort. Though unbeknown to the hipsters, their beloved blue ribbon actively cultivated their mystique upon learning of their popularity among this fickle niche. The article unenthusiastically concludes that Yuengling, the country’s oldest continuing brewer established in 1829, would be the most likely successor–were it not for its limited distribution. I can say that Yuengling is better quality than your average mass produced American lager, it has the cool uniformity of taste without being watery–But I’m really more an ale person so it wouldn’t be my first choice to begin with.
Having said all that, I doubt that there will be any colossal consumer shift. Bud will continue to be all stars, titties and stripes and the average American consumer will continue to be beguiled, sub-par quality be damned.
In this interview Sam Adam’s Jim Koch summed up nicely by saying, “No, I’ve always believed people should drink the beer for its inherent quality. To me, waving the flag doesn’t make the beer taste any better.”
Truer words, Jim, truer words.