By Quincy Longwood
There is a huge debate among beer drinkers – which is better, craft beers or macro beers? Macro beers, which are the common, mass-produced beers, are finding micro beers to be increasingly tough competition, as these smaller breweries are becoming better at marketing their drinks, and creating consumer loyalty. During the Super Bowl, Budweiser’s ad took a direct shot at craft beers by stating that its beer is not brewed to be ‘fussed over’.
The commercial essentially suggested that those who drink craft beers are too picky, and that they should spend more time drinking, not analyzing the taste. In response to the ad, microbreweries are fighting back by making jokes against the King of Beers, and by defending their stance.
Budweiser’s commercial “Brewed the Hard Way”, essentially says that its beer is for people who like to drink beer, and not for people who like to examine it and discuss it, like a wine. The images in the add depict younger people getting beer samples, sipping them like wine, and as the ad put it, ‘dissecting’ the beer, rather than enjoying it. The commercial summed up is Budweiser defending its stance as being macro-brewed and suggests that it’s the best beer for people who like to drink.
Microbreweries were quick to defend themselves and respond. Abita Brewing in Louisiana published a video that said “We don’t make one-size-fits-all beer. Yeah, we made a pumpkin peach beer. It was good. Damn good.” In Oregon, Ninkasi Brewing created a parody ad that said “If you aren’t drinking a beer for taste, what are you drinking it for?” To really make a point, Northern Brewer unveiled a $39.99 “Peach of Resistance” kit for people who want to brew pumpkin peach ale, with the tagline “Sip away pretense… (with) just a touch of nonconformity.” The email even includes a direct attack at Budweiser saying “This kit’s for you!”
Maybe Budweiser is busting out all the stops for a reason, and to directly counter the rising popularity of craft beers. Since 2004, the per-capita consumption of Budweiser has dropped about 43 percent. Company research showed that about 50 percent of all drinkers between 21 and 27 haven’t even tried it. Even with the national beer sales dropping about 2 percent in the past few years, sales from craft beers from America’s 2700 microbreweries have risen 17 percent.
The backlash hit Budweiser fast, and the company is already taking a step backwards to defend itself. Budweiser marketing executive Brian Perkins went on to say “This is an affirmation of what Budweiser is, not an attack on what it isn’t. We’re not anti-craft. Just pro-Bud.” MillerCoors is defending craft breweries, even tweeting an image that stated “We believe all beers should be fussed over. All brewing is a craft. And when it’s done right, it should be respected.”