This video How to Enjoy a Bud in Four Easy Steps represents possibly the best response to Budweiser's recent Superbowl ad, simply and brilliantly executed.  Sent to craftbeergut.com from an anonymous source.  

CAUTION: May not be suitable for all viewers.

If you haven't seen Budweiser's now-infamous Superbowl ad, you should see it:
Why did AB Inbev spend so much money just to slam craft beer?  Because the "fussy, dissecting" consumer has spoken (loudly):
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Dear AB Inbev, 

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Sincerely,

The Fussy, Dissecting Consumer

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Tanisha Caravello started home brewing in Chicago in 1997, but primarily approaches craft beer from the reverent perspective of an enthusiast and an avid craft beer traveler, beer journalist, and student of all things beer.

In August, 2013, Tanisha quit her job as a molecular geneticist for a large corporation to test Joseph Campbell's theory of following one's bliss.  Now she is the founder and editor of Craft Beer Gut, a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone Program; the Oregon Chapter Leader for The Pink Boots Society, and a proud member of the  Master Brewers Association of the Americas.

 
 
Last I looked, craft beer pioneer Sierra Nevada, and ultra marketing-geniuses, Brewdog, did not claim to be small, Agrarian, or artisanal...But sure, throw out the big names just to make a point which you're too lazy to research but will still get you attention and boost your readership - because suckers like me are sharing your stupidity...oh balls!

 
 
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I've been stewing on this pervasive question for a long time: How do you market beer to women?  And I've finally come up with my answer. First, let's look at this question on a more general, global scale.

Marketing used to be simple.  There were tangible, quantifiable demographics you could cling to as an advertiser: men, women, Asian, African-American, White, poor, middle-class, young, old, urban and suburban, etc.  You could easily - so the advertisers thought and based their simplified marketing models on - divide these broad categories into general spending habits and go from there.

It's natural that these demographics came about.  Humans have taken our animal instincts (Is it food?  Are you a friend or enemy? Can I mate with you?) a step further - because we can.  Our brains are wired to find patterns and define our own place within those patterns.  We fit ourselves into those demographics, then we become those demographics
.  It becomes a self-fulfilling cycle.  Or so, this is how it used to be.

Rapidly changing technology and the cultural highway of social media are giving us, as individuals, greater power over how we define ourselves, and because of this our definitions of ourselves are becoming more complex and nuanced.  This, combined with ever-increasing, un
controlled population growth has inevitably created diversity within the simple demographic categories - creating further categories, multiple subcategories, and many shades of gray.  One need not be either male or female or gay or straight; one can be a youthful senior or a highly mature, globally-savvy youth; an individual can consist of many different ethnic or racial categories and can even live in two different cultures at the same time.  In short: those demographic categories which advertisers have used for so long have become painfully antiquated. Creaky. Rusted. Falling off the hinges!

Yet, some people still struggle with this.  What made me start thinking about this was a comment that my boss made the other day.  She was being interviewed by a journalist who asked her about marketing beer to women.  My boss' opinion was that you don't really market beer to women - which is part of why craft beer has been so successful in drawing women to it naturally.  For some reason, the journalist continued to push, really wanting an answer, and ended up misquoting my boss just to get one.  Why do people need an answer to a question which is so deeply submerged in an antiquated demographic system?

The truth is - still speaking on a global scale - people have
redefined these demographics to interest categories.  Instead of being defined by your age or your gender or what you look like, you can now define yourself by your interests - and that's a much more powerful marketing tool because an individual's spending habits are more easily predicted by interests - despite the fact that a single "interest category" could easily contain individuals who fit into multiple old-school demographic categories.

So how does one translate this to the beer world?

As an example, you may be able to define "interest categories" as such (this is not a comprehensive list by any means...):

  • People who drink craft beer versus people who drink American adjunct lagers
  • People who prefer strong, bold beers vs. people who prefer lighter, more subtle flavors
  • People who prefer stouts and porters
  • People who prefer IPAs and hoppier beers
  • People who love sour beers
  • People who are into traveling and tasting beers of the world

You get the idea.  And from my experience drinking with many people in many of these categories: they contain both men and women.

So how do you market beer to women?  You don't.  Get over it.  Make a great stout and market to stout-drinkers.  Make a great IPA and market to hoppy beer lovers.  But for god sake, stop asking that stupid question!
 
 
I didn't see the Superbowl.  I don't do the sports thing - even if it IS two teams from amazing states rich in craft beer and legal marijuana.  I was supposed to go to a Superbowl party at a friend's house which would include a TEN-YEAR vertical tasting of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine...TEN YEARS!!!  But instead, I obsessively worked all day, desperately trying to finish some projects.

My point: I did not see the now-infamous Chrysler commercial where the buzz in social media was that Bob Dylan had "sold out".  I could care less whether or not Bob Dylan sells out.  Haven't many of us "sold out" in one way or another?  He had his day, he was young, he was an idealist and an activist, and whether you love him or hate him, he was a great fucking writer.  But he did his time.  He can do whatever the hell he wants, and I can't definitively say I wouldn't do the same thing if Chrysler offered me whatever ungodly sum they offered him.

But I did get a little curious about what everyone was talking about...
After finally watching the commercial, I posted the following on my personal Facebook page:
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I didn't much care about the Swiss watch crack, since, who wears watches anymore anyway?  Just another reason why Chrysler (owned by an Italian company and touting their "American" cars) is painfully out-of-touch with reality... 

After I posted the above, though, a friend shared with me a letter written by Fred Bueltmann of the New Holland Brewing Company (a.k.a. the Beervangelist) written to Chrysler.  This letter is so articulate, well-written and right on point that Fred Bueltmann is now my superhero.  Thank you very much, Fred, for not just innocuously posting something on Facebook like me, but for taking the time to rip Chrysler a new asshole publicly!

Here are a couple of great excerpts from the letter.  You can also read the entire letter below.
It was condescending to your customers and even managed to make listening to Bob-frickin-Dylan feel dirty for the first time ever...

...
Shame on you, Chrysler for insulting the hard working people of Detroit, Michigan and America, by forgetting what craftsmanship is all about – authenticity, artistry, trust and respect. American pride and legacy aren’t about buying local out of obligation. These ideals are about celebrating beautiful things made in our communities and being proud because they’re great. So, if Chrysler is going to try and sell us on some warm and fuzzy American pride rhetoric, why don’t you actually show some first? So, while Chrysler makes more Super Bowl ads, we’ll keep making the beer; in Michigan and every other corner of this great land. We’ll raise our glass, look each other in the eye and mean it when we celebrate our country’s heart and soul. As a dedicated member of the American craft brewing & distilling community here in Michigan, I feel Chrysler owes the craftsmen and craftswomen of our industry an apology for dismissing their trade in front of millions of viewers.

Fred Bueltmann
Beervangelist
New Holland Brewing Company
Read Fred Bueltmann's entire letter

...and in case you haven't seen this commercial yet, here it is - in all its glory:
 
 
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THIS is what a craft beer bubble looks like
"Is this a craft beer bubble?"  While it may be a sexy sensationalist headline in non-beer dedicated media publications, it is often weakly argued and I have yet to see anyone succeed in making the case.  And how sexy is it anymore really?  The question has been rhetorically asked so many times that it's starting to get pretty tired.  Actually, it's really starting to get on my nerves.

The question was asked yet again, yesterday in the Food and Drink section of Free Times in an article by Gerald Jowers entitled "Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Craft Beer? Yes."  Clearly, the title gives us the conclusion that the author came to, but what the author fails to do in the article is make us understand exactly how he came to that conclusion.

Recently, a few pundits have opined in various beer publications that the industry is heading for the same type of shakeout that occurred in the late 1990s. During that time, there was a quick spurt of growth in craft beer that ended in a collapse that was labeled a bursting of a bubble.
Today's craft beer boom is fueled by an honest passion for brewing and this shows in the quality of the beer.  According to this article, this was not the case in the late '90s, when entrepreneurs greedy for big pay-offs were getting into the business and producing sub-par beer.  Despite the authors own arguments which lead us to believe that today's craft beer climate is nothing like that of the '90s, he somehow comes to the conclusion that "the danger is real." 
For generations, megabrewers have used effective and relentless advertising to increase the demand for their products and create brand loyalty, but craft brewers are financially unable to do this. Craft brewers by necessity rely on word of mouth and guerrilla marketing techniques such as festivals to reach potential customers — a slow process, indeed.

So will there be a shakeout? Unfortunately, I think so, because the number of craft brewers is increasing too quickly. The survivors will be the brewers (and their investors) who have the patience to tolerate slow growth and the capital to hold on during the lean times. Regrettably, these survivors may not be the best brewers. The most successful and widely distributed craft breweries today, such as Rogue, Brooklyn Brewing and Sierra Nevada, have been around for over 25 years. The new guys have a long road ahead of them.
Without any apparent data to back it up, the author concludes that the growth of supply is outpacing the growth in demand.  Without any metrics to go on, it's hard to be certain.  But, with certainty, I can say that all of the craft brewers I know are currently working at capacity - they can't make enough beer fast enough to meet demand.  This includes two breweries which opened in 2011 and 2012 (The Commons and De Garde, respectively) and have already had to expand their facilities. 

Which brings me to the author's second point that I must dispute.  Word-of-mouth - and those wacky "guerrilla marketing techniques" like festivals - have been an incredibly fast and effective "marketing strategy" within the craft beer community, particularly with the abundance of beer writers and bloggers that we have today.  This is likely why, when a brewery produces a very good product, they find themselves having to expand within the first year.  Meanwhile, for all of Budweiser's "effective and relentless advertising", their sales have been plummeting.

That's because it isn't about marketing - it's about quality.  Only a very small percentage of beer drinkers are craft beer drinkers, though market research studies from last year indicate that more people would drink craft beer if they knew more about it.  As people learn more about craft beer, the demand has huge potential for growth.  Once growth in demand plateaus, then you can talk about a "bubble", but until then, don't waste my time.  Sure, there may be a "shakeout" of some of the craft breweries that produce sub-par beer, but that's always the case, in any industry.  And they should be shaken out, for the betterment of the industry as a whole.
...My concern is that many enthusiasts, while they do not have brand loyalty, tend to gravitate toward a particular style such as IPA and stay with it; the style becomes a comfort zone.
Really?  This is the final point that I have to dispute.  Is the author perhaps misusing the term "enthusiast" with casual craft beer drinker?  With very few exceptions, the craft beer enthusiasts I know actively seek out the new and different, across many different styles.  So don't be too concerned.  "Relax.  Have a home brew."
 
 
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This toast is for you, Tea Party!
This isn't a political blog by any means, but this shit is gettin' REAL now. 

The Huffington Post came out with this article/video yesterday which highlights the fact that, while leaving the big-named brewing giants relatively unscathed, the paralysis of The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) due to the government shut-down has had a direct impact on the formation of new craft breweries and the production of one-off and seasonal craft beer. 

Not to mention many of us (including yours truly) have SBA loan requests sitting on a desk somewhere, collecting dust, indefinitely. 

If you haven't seen this video of Senator Elizabeth Warren tellin' it like it IS, you need to watch it.  She does not mess around as she very clearly pinpoints the reason behind this shut-down - a miniscule reason so important to a minority of extremist nut-jobs that it's worth stalling small businesses of all kinds in a number of ways, disrupting the economy, preventing military spouses from receiving death benefits, and eliminating countless government services who serve the young, the old and the poor...  And, oh ya, you are fucking with MY CRAFT BEER. 

How did we let this happen?  How are there not rules in place which prevent these myopic, soulless, anti-business, anti-government freaks to use real people and real businesses as pawns as they scream and stomp their feet in a grade school temper tantrum?  Oh ya, there ARE:

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Can you imagine what would happen to the economy if someone put these Tea Party Republicans in charge?  Oh wait, they did. 

Good move, Other Republicans.  Now we have a lot of people out of work or unable to provide jobs to people by opening new businesses (and how much Bud Light would we have to drink to drown our sorrows when we can't get great craft beer anymore??  A LOT.).  Guess what, losers?  These are all people who aren't going to vote for you when you run for re-election.  But I guess that's the point - you've never really relied on the young, the old, the poor, women or minorities for your campaign contributions, have you?  Well, dig your own grave, then, and get out of our way.

#craftbeer and #Republican #Losers
 
 
Brewbound's Brew Talks takes a West coast tour, establishing what Portlanders already know to be true: that Portland is truly a #CraftBeer Mecca.  In THIS video, Christian Ettinger of Hopworks, Karmen Olson of Redhook and Andy Thomas of the Craft Brew Alliance discuss why that is - from being near the hops source and having an excellent water supply to having cultural support and being the center of a renaissance - in craft beer, coffee, food, sustainability and all things creative...and we may be a small town, but we totally kicked Seattle's ass.  Just sayin'.  #pdxbeer
 
 
Here is a post from the Richmond Times which tells a story of beer pairing (as opposed to wine pairing) in fine dining.  According to the article, there are still those who go out to a fine restaurant and are surprised by craft beer and food pairings - hard to imagine, but in craft beer-crazy Portland, we're used to this sort of thing.  It is inevitable that people across the country will catch on to the staggering range of styles and flavors and the versatility of craft beer paired with - and cooked into - food.

As craft beer rises in status among the masses - and looks down upon us from its properly deserved seat upon its lofty throne - there will inevitably be some push-back too.  Not necessarily among the fine dining winos...no, they seem to be embracing craft beer nicely...but among those who appreciate beer's roots.  Beer has historically been a working man's drink.  This we know.  And though it can be so much more than just that, why should the working man surrender his drink of choice to those who may be willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle of wine?

This will inevitably always be a debate among those who love craft beer.  While there are socio-political, hierarchical and pragmatic economic implications for the rise in rank and status of craft beer, there are people like me who fall somewhere in the middle - and sometimes, on either end - who really appreciate going out for a nice meal on a special occasion and seeing the kind of beer menu that, say, Higgins, has to offer.  Thank god!  

A word of warning: this article will make you salivate uncontrollably.  Proceed with caution! 
 
 
A Time Magazine article came out where the author implies that the craft beer market is becoming saturated, and seems to be raising the inevitable question: how long can the craft beer industry grow exponentially? 

There is no doubt that we're in the middle of a craft beer renaissance - or a craft beer craze, if you will.  Great ideas travel fast in a lightning-fast global social media game of telephone...and inevitably, when great ideas travel, people get excited.  The craft beer beer industry is projected to grow through 2017, according to the market research firm Mintel, and has already doubled in the past six years, despite the recession and the decline of the big-named domestic brands.  There is a certain level of excitement about craft beer which may dissipate over time among the masses, sure.  But would anyone ever ask the question: will the wine industry shrivel up and die when people no longer want high-quality wine?  No.  People will always want high quality wine.  Duh.

Of course, at some point, the craft beer market may become saturated and the rate of growth will slow.  It's almost a rhetorical question that Time is asking.  And inevitably, those breweries who produce an inferior product will get squeezed out.  But there will always be room for new breweries with a great ideas or a stellar brew.  And there will always be those of us willing to pay for it.  As the craft beer market becomes saturated, it grows more competitive and the breweries that are able to make it produce a great product.  My brewer friends, I know this makes it harder on the little guy to compete, especially if they're upgrading from home brewing to a new, larger system for the first time and have some kinks to work out, and that is a raw deal - but I have to also say that, given this scenario, the craft beer consumer wins.  So I say, keep that craft beer flowing, bitches!