Budweiser Takes a Big Swing at the Little Guys

I am old enough to remember when being a New England Patriots fan that was not something to be particularly proud of. So when the Patriots win the Super Bowl, It’s still something I revel in, if just a little.

The day after the Big Game, I was not surprised to see my Twitter feed full of gloats from my fellow Patriots fans. I was, however, surprised to see my feed filled with angry rants about Budweiser.

I actually missed the commercial, but oh boy did it get my fellow beer nerds going. Later, when my heart rate receded after the best Super Bowl I’ve ever seen (PATS WIN!), I went back and watched it. It might have made me angry too, but instead it made me laugh.

Let me summarize the ad for you: Craft beer is sniffed, sipped, and fussed over by urban elite white males with weirdo facial hair and glasses. Budweiser is downed by Real Men in rowdy pubs throughout Real America, drunk straight from the bottle, not from some fancy-schmancy glassware. Oh, and it’s delivered by Lovely Serving Wenches. I guess in Bud world, women serve beer, they don’t drink it. But I digress.

Others out there in the craft beer world (see here, here, and here) have done a fine job of poking holes in the particulars of the commercial, the nonsense of “Beechwood aged,” the fact that Bud is actually owned by a Belgium conglomerate, or that the “Pumpkin Peach Ale” they poke fun at is brewed by a Budweiser subsidiary.

Budweiser has always sold itself as being a legacy beer, a beer that’s been brewed since 1876. It’s the beer Dad and your Grandpa drank on the porch listening to Red Sox games on the radio. Unfortunately, that image doesn’t seem to be working for them so well anymore. They are losing market share, particularly among younger drinkers LINK . Their new pitch is to make craft beer drinkers the nerds in the room, subject to humiliation and ridicule for drinking something a shade darker than amber. Feel free to walk up and steal their chicken wings. They have given up on competing on taste, it seems, and now want to sell beer based on social conformity.

Some might find this ominous. I just think it’s silly.

Which brings me back to being an old-time Patriots fan. In the bad old days, the Pats played in a terrible old craphole that had no seats, just metal benches. In New England. I believe the phrase “Freezing my ass off” began here. It was known as Schaefer Stadium, after another beer that my Dad used to drink. Perhaps, if Budweiser’s “Our beer ain’t made for sipping” angle doesn’t work out, Bud could go back to the old Schaefer slogan:

“The one beer to have when you’re having more than one.”