Commoditization of American beer
If you know me, you know I have an affinity for beer. When I travel North America, I always search out the local brewpub or I order the local micro on tap. When I'm overseas, I stick to the local brew. For several years (before children), I helped organize the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, which was (and probably still is) the largest celebration of fermentation on the planet.
So, I find it ironic that I have absolutely no loyalty when it comes to American beer at my local package store. Anyone who can claim to distinguish between Bud, Miller, Coors, Pabst, Pearl, etc. in a blind taste test is lying. I know this, because I've conducted this experiment among a group of biased individuals who make claims such as "Coors Light gives me the runs", and "Bud tastes like horse piss".
Truth is, they all taste like horse piss. Oh, and my Canadian friends have no room to talk. Your beers taste like moose piss.
If I could say that I "have a brand", I suppose it would be Original Coors (the "Banquet Beer"). Nobody drinks Banquet Beer anymore, so I think I buy it just to be different and because it was my fathers' brand. It certainly isn't the taste.
So yesterday I was getting some gas and preparing to join my friends in the field for my annual "pretend to be a farmer" day. I help out during wheat harvest for a few hours and smell the dirt. I had some snacks and bottled water in my cooler. I went into the beer cave to get something for everyone to enjoy. I deliberated on a couple of choices, but in the end it wasn't the brand, the price, or the calories that was the deciding factor.
It was the shape of the can.
I chose Michelob Ultra because a dozen cans would fit better into my ice chest than the others. The Ultra can is taller and narrower than the traditional US beer can, while still containing 12 fluid ounces. I've never been a loyalist to Michelob in the past, but I don't hold any bias against it. At 10 pm, when the wheat was in the trucks and we were standing around the bumper of my pickup, it was cold and quenched the thirst.
And I guess that's the only measure that counts. Those guys who claim they only like Bud light were perfectly content drinking a cold Michelob Ultra. Even if they didn't brag about it the next day.
All those marketing dollars that are spent on talking frogs, beautiful mountain scenes, and race car drivers, could be saved if they just spent some money learning how their customers buy their beer and why.