Coors Light is Lagered Cold!

Last night, I tuned in briefly to see who was playing on Monday Night Football. (Discovering that it was Broncos vs. Chargers accounts for the brevity.) On the first commercial break, MillerCoors ran an add touting the way Coors Light is made: "Cold lagered," "cold filtered," and "cold packaged," read the animation. This is part of a long tradition of beer companies touting bog-standard brewing practices in order to impress people who don't know how beer is made. (Coors Light's "cold" talking points are a perfect example of the way every brewery on the planet makes lager beer.) It amounts to verbal window-dressing in an otherwise banal ad, the kind of thing beer companies have been doing for decades.

The football game was uninspiring enough that I kept considering the ad. I know perfectly well that the people who made it know as little about beer as their target audience, but MillerCoors knows better. They know that cold lagering is redundant; that it's like Krispy Kreme bragging about "hot frying." It's worse than merely using marketing-speak to pander to an audience; it's actually contemptuous of that audience. It assumes they don't understand about brewing and can therefore be easily fooled by a little jargon. It's contemptuous because it demonstrates they can't be bothered to promote actual unique or praise-worthy practices of the brewery. It's like a foreign waiter smiling at you and insulting you in a language he assumes you don't speak.

Here Budweiser promotes the fact that its aged 75% as long as traditional pilsners.

I constantly find myself defending the products big breweries put out. The leading international brands are extremely well-made, and great care and attention is directed at delivering them to your hand in good shape. They may not taste interesting to craft beer drinkers, but that doesn't mean they're cheap or bad. The ad campaigns, however, are making it increasingly hard to defend these products.

Big breweries have never gotten in the habit of explaining why their products are well-made, beyond vague bromides, and even in the face of a concerted effort by smaller breweries to target them as "cheap," they still have no clue how to do it. Bragging about lagering beer cold is exactly the kind of thing that undermines one's confidence in a brewery. It screams "unreliable" the same way putting the word "premium" on a beer screams "cheap." Big breweries are watching their market share erode because customers keep abandoning them for craft beer or wine/liquor. And yet they keep condescending to them in their ads. This does not seem like smart marketing.

I have a tag called "stupid macros," and this post is basically a continuation of that theme and, I guess, its point. For companies slowly losing money every year, you'd expect a change in approach. Well, enjoy the rest of the football season; you're going to have to live through that commercial a thousand more times.

"Triple-hops brewed"--another classic of the genre.

"Triple-hops brewed"--another classic of the genre.