Have you ever tried to tell someone who loves their VB (or any other mainstream beer) that there is little taste difference between their beer and others? Have you told them they could not tell the difference in a three-way blind taste test? It doesn’t go down well.
There is a disputte of delusional proportions. Right up until the glasses come out for the taste test. Fill the glasses up with VB and two other similar lagers. Ask which one is VB and they wont know. They’ll have an accuracy rate no better than chance.
Then something interesting will happen. Excuses. The glasses have soap in them. I’ve got a cold. You’re trying to trick me. And so on.
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Carlton & United Breweries have come under attack today from the Advertising Standards Bureau for allowing users to post derogatory comments on their official VB Facebook page.
It all started when CUB posted this question: “Besides VB, what’s the next essential needed for a great Australia Day BBQ?”
Which prompted a barrage of horrible comments that according to The Australian, vilified sexual identity discriminated against women and used obscene language.
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How old were you when you first had a few drinks?
There’s a good chance that by the time you turned 16 you would probably have had a few beers and/or plastic pillows of cask wine. Chances are you got it from either someone like a sibling who was of drinking age or your parents.
Well, it was reported yesterday that the NSW government is stepping up a push to change teenage drinking culture. Targeting adults.
British comedian John Cleese calls them “beer fairies”. It’s a euphemism for Australian men who drink beer, and that’s apparently the worst thing around when it comes to the dating world.
Sounds ridiculous. But that’s the big take home message from a NewsPoll survey which found Australian women prefer men who are adventurous with their choice of beverage. In other words, men who don’t drink beer are considered better potential partners than those that do.
Ouch. Forget about bad breath, an annoying laugh or narcissistic behaviour, it’s men that order beer who are the real scourge on the dating world? Well I don’t buy that for a second.
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I like beer. Beer is easily one of my favourite fizzy alcoholic beverages. Anytime is a good time for beer, but an especially good time for beer is anytime I’m thirsty.
I get thirsty when I play or watch sport, I get thirsty when I’m hot and I get thirsty when I eat delicious salty bar snacks like beef jerky and BBQ-flavoured corn nuts. God I love jerky and corn nuts. But best of all, I like beer.
Taking all of this into account, I am a ridiculously easy sell. All advertisers have to do to make me hit the bottle-o for a six pack of their product is make me thirsty. Simple. So why do so many of them fail?
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It’s official. We have become a nation of sippers and samplers, not a nation of sluggers dedicated to a single brand.
Once upon a time, there would be tumbleweeds if you failed to order the mass brand plastered all over the exterior walls of your local pub. As news.com.au revealed yesterday, we’ve now gone all boutiquey in our quest for the perfect pub bevvy.
Pfft to that. Take your cider and shove it. Give me a good honest mass-produced frothy one any day. It may not be fancy but it’s cheap and it’s made from beer. Or is it just the advertising making me say that? What else apart from beer is going down today, Punchers?
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News yesterday that Foster’s stopped supply of its beers to Coles and Woolworths for a short period this month, after it emerged the warring retail giants were planning to sell VB (and possibly other brands) for as low $28 a case. Carlton & United, Foster’s beer division, have said that they stopped supply to the supermarkets out of fear their beer brands were being undervalued; according to CUB it was done to protect “the brand equity – the image of our brands”.
Now you might be asking yourself how it’s possible to undervalue the Australian gold standard of cheap beer? Well you can, and it’s got something to do with the amount of beer we’re drinking - or more accurately, not drinking.
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It being Melbourne Cup day yesterday you probably started drinking at about 10 am and missed this story, but in another shock horror study researchers have found that we as Australians are drinking more than ever.
Contrary to some studies that began to indicate a decline in our habit, the National Drug Research Institute has found we’re apparently putting it away like Brendan Fevola at Brownlow night. This increase has been attributed to the amount of wine that we’re drinking, because apparently we’ve just worked out how much alcohol the stuff has in it.
One might think that such a finding would elicit some kind of response from the Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon. Like an abusive PE teacher she frequently reminds us that we’ve been drinking too much, eating too much and we’re slob of a nation who will never make the athletics squad. It might even be an opportunity to look a bit further into something that every major health body in the nation and the Henry Review has championed: that is a volumetric tax on alcohol.
It’s hard to envy the ad makers over at Carlton United Breweries for the task of marketing VB – arguably one of the world’s most undrinkable beers, but they’ve absolutely nailed the song that runs behind their latest series of ads “real beer” – with Neil Diamond’s, “Hello Again”.
Because while good actors can come and go and an epic back drop will only get you so far - there is nothing more important to creating a successful beer ad, than choosing the right song to go with it. It’s just a pity they didn’t make the message of the “real beer” easier to understand.
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Food producers love a good study, particularly one that finds that some ingredient or trace element in their product has some miraculous property found to cure cancer in rats.
Such studies are guaranteed to make headlines around the world and lead to an aura being cast over their product. The wine industry in particular is the master of the self-serving study, with red wine being attributed all sorts of miraculous properties that should see it treated like the waters at Lourdes.
The chocolate industry has also discovered the value of good publicity and the media has recently reported chocolate manufacturing giants Mars and Barry Callebaut AG have announced a cross-industry partnership to promote the health benefits of cocoa flavanols.
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How times change. When I started working in an office a little over 20 years ago, you could still smoke at your desk. In fact, when you were shown the stationary cabinet on your first day in a new job you could kit yourself out with a stapler and sticky-tape dispenser as well as an ashtray.
In those days, ‘smoking or non-smoking?’ was an everyday question when checking in for an airline flight’, you watched the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup over summer and the Winfield Cup over winter and the back cover of almost every women’s magazine carried an ad featuring an attractive blonde, a beach, acres of cheesecloth and a packet Alpine.
At about the same time blokes would go to the beach in the middle of the day, shirtless and hatless, while women would lay for hours baking themselves to a golden brown while occasionally basting themselves with coconut oil. Sun protection was not standard work issue for workers out of doors and sunshirts and sensible hats had the same sartorial appeal as sandals with long socks.
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These chaps spent a very long time getting ready for this one beer. European precision at its finest.
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In having a gentle dig at US beer maven, food guy and legendary brewer Garret Oliver, Paul Colgan put his finger on what is the greatest obstacle to beer becoming anything other than a weapon of mass consumption for most Australians.
While it is OK – almost expected – for the urban sophisticate to have a touch of the wine tosser these days, if you show the slightest interest in what’s in your beer glass – or even ask for one when you order a beer – you are marking yourself as a twat of the worst order.
How things have changed. As a child in middle class suburbs of Brisbane in the 70s, I recall my parents going to parties where the dads all rocked up with a half carton of XXXX tallies and the wives with a four litre cask of Coolabah Moselle or Riesling.
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OK, so the headline’s a bit cruel - you wouldn’t use this material in the front bar unless you enjoy a public humiliation, but it’s a good potted guide to beer tasting and matching a brew with steak.
It comes from BigThink.com and springs off Obama’s beer summit, offering advice on etiquette next time you’re settling a major national issue over a drink. Enjoy.
If you’re a beer enthusiast, check out our own Matt Kirkegaard, The Punch’s resident lager-and-stout expert.
There are few occasions when beer and politics should mix.
Barack Obama has recently demonstrated one of the few times when it can work, diffusing a race row with the offer of a peace-making beer at the White House.
Any Federal politician gingerly holding a beer in an RSL or public bar in an unconvincing attempt to come across as a man of the people is an example of when it doesn’t.
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Sometimes you have to feel sorry for the Government. On the one hand they are constantly criticised for making laws that are cumbersome, unwieldy, hard to enforce and costly for business to comply with.
But on the other, no sooner is a law passed and no matter how plain the spirit and intention of that law, there is someone trying to find a loophole to get around it. This leaves the government having to close the loophole, followed by someone trying to get around the new law which, in turn leads to – well – cumbersome and unwieldy laws.
It’s also a process that often produces the opposite result to that intended. A classic example of the syndrome is the evolution of the United States military’s purchasing specification for biscuits in the 1980s.
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It’s a fairly common experience for the beer drinker. Visiting a nice restaurant and being handed an impressive leather-bound volume with “beverage list” in gold lettering outlining a vast selection of wines from Australia and around the world.
Champagnes costing up to and over $700-a-bottle headlining a studied offering of dozens of styles and varietals with the cheapest – or should that be least expensive – hovering above the $40 mark. Then there follows an array of dessert wines, ports, fortifieds and other dauntingly-named types of grape juice provided for the discerning diner’s post-prandial enjoyment.
But if you want a beer it’s nowhere to be seen in the beverage list.
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Low-carb beers are a beer of the moment. They are the “IT girl” of the beer world with their sales growing at a remarkable 900 per cent per year and every man and his dog who owns a brewery clamouring to get one on the market.
Despite this, you won’t find too many brewers bragging about the beers in any sense other than the technical achievement in producing them. Beer marketers and brewery bean counters will sing their praises endlessly, but the actual brewers seem to stay silent on them – a little like Hunter S. Thompson might have done if he had had a sideline writing Mills and Boon novels.
When they do mention them it is usually in the pragmatic terms of giving the market what they want. The key to the beer’s success – apart from their light flavour profile – is in their name: low carb.
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YOU know what I love about the Grand Canyon, other than that it is one awesome kick-arse hole in the ground?
It’s got no fences. You are free to fall into it if you feel so inclined. Sure, there’s the odd sign telling you that straying too close to the edge could bring a premature and permanent end to your holiday, but that’s the extent of the bureaucratic concern.
If the Grand Canyon was in Australia, it would have a fence around it.
Too dangerous, the nannas who govern us would cry, to let people just explore it in a manner of their choosing.
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