Big Beer tells it like it isn’t

Shitty beer is shitty beer regardless of hot ladies

It’s a perfect day in the Rocky Mountains. The sun is shining the snow is deep and you’re hanging out with all your hipster buddies. Oh and there are hot chicks in tiny bikinis everywhere you look. Suddenly you’re thrust into a hot nightclub; the music is pumping while a posse of your remarkably attractive friends surrounds you. The jokes are flying the good times are rolling. The hot chicks seem to be multiplying now and — good news — they’ve noticed you. The only thing that could make this night better is a cold beer and here it comes. A shapely girl in a cowboy hat is strutting slowly toward you clutching the ice cold beer in her hand and a mischievous look in her eye. As she hands it over you look down and smile as drips of condensation flash across the label. Life is sooo good!

That is if you’re a beer-thirsty guy under the age of 40. I’m thinking approximately 51 per cent of you have not been deeply touched by this fictional ad. To big beer companies I guess you just don’t count. Apparently some marketing guy at some point decided chicks don’t drink beer and if they do they never buy it. I don’t pretend to understand the marketing geniuses behind beer ads but clearly there is a big affiliation to lifestyle. If we choose the right beer we will be cool live better lives and meet more chicks. This may sound crazy but I know it’s true. I’ve been told this at every commercial break of every single hockey game I’ve ever seen. I added it up and that’s a lot of reinforcement.

But don’t worry if after the first sip you don’t begin your life anew with more attractive friends and girls hanging on your every word; you can still rely on all the other concrete claims that big beer companies have made. You can look forward to some extra drinkability (not a real word) a “frost-brewed” beverage (no actual meaning) or my personal favourite a beer that is somehow colder than the one you were previously enjoying. Really your beer is colder? Maybe you just want my beer so cold that I can no longer tell how bad it is? Now that actually makes sense.

It seems to me that the rise of craft beer currently the fastest growing segment of the beer market has come out of necessity and Big Beer has only itself to blame. We don’t view Big Beer companies with the same corporate disdain we reserve for evil empires such as Wal-Mart; instead we see them as harmless proponents of a watery and tasteless beverage. Not exactly a crime but they did leave the door open for smaller interests that actually wanted to make beer that tastes good.

As a North American and an occasional sports fan I have witnessed dozens of ridiculous claims made by big beer companies over the course of my life. Sometimes I wonder how much of it has sunken in. Sure I opt for a craft beer when I’m buying at my local pub or liquor store but what happens when I step into some bought-and-paid-for franchise restaurant that offers only crappy beer. What could possibly make me opt for one shitty beer over what I know to be another equally shitty beer?

I shudder at the thought but no matter how much nonsense Big Beer companies throw at me I know there is a limit to how much influence they wield. I know this because of Zima.

Remember the “malternative”? It was thrust upon me at a tender age when I was still sorting out what kind of a drinker I would become. Would I be one of these whatever’s-trendy-guys living a life of cheap vodka mixed with chemical lemon flavour neutral spirit and flat Fresca or lime concentrate premixed in inferior light beer? No! I decided to take a stand and I owe that all to Zima.

You see the Big Beer companies told me Zima would be a hip and tasty choice when hanging out with my buddies. But intrinsically I knew that drinking Zima would lead to ridicule from my peers and I was sure it would taste like shit. I was right. I didn’t jump on the short-lived Zima train — few of us did — but I never forgot my lesson. Beer companies don’t have my best interest in mind they only want my money and they’re willing to say anything to get it. Even that Zima is a trendy cool and tasty drink. That time they went too far.