Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lager shouting

Budweiser is one of the official sponsors of next month's World Cup, but it's run into a fairly substantial stumbling block. In Germany, where the tournament is taking place, they know a bit about beer, and the American brew is a bit of a joke, albeit a weak one.

"We understand that taste is an important part of the product beer," says Tony Ponturo, vice president of Anheuser-Busch, "and Europeans, particularly Germans, like a stronger, more bitter kind of product." Well it's jolly good that a senior executive of a beer company has sussed that it's quite important what a beer tastes like, but why the hell are you trying to sell them Budweiser then, Tony? It tastes of nothing. It's not even strong enough to be unpleasant. It isn't the King of Beers, it's the Prince Edward (bland, nondescript and pointless). In Europe, maybe, just maybe, people drink beer because they like drinking beer, not because some marketing catamite has decided that they want to buy into an aspirational lifestyle or somesuch witless drool. Maybe people are finally waking up to the fact that the whole branding phenomenon is an attempt to make us pay extra for less.

And please don't get me started on "WHASSUP???" or I'll give Mr Ponturo a "stronger, more bitter kind of product" that will really make his head spin.


Billy said...

Why does the world cup need an official beer anyway?

Least of all Budweiser; available here as a brewed in the UK copy of an American beer that's no good in the first place which nicked it's name from a Czech lager.

If they're going for rather crappy beers, I think the offical beer should be Skol, or Hofmeister. Whatever happened to them?

matthew said...

Mmmm... Hofmeister...

I totally agree, why does the World Cup need to have an 'official beer'? It might as well also have 'official fags' and 'official fast food' (actually it probably does have official fast food).

This message brought to you my Bensons, the official cigarettes of the World Cup.

Spinsterella said...

I was working in a bar many years ago when Budvar (proper European beer) first appeared.

When people asked for a 'bud', when I gave them a budvar they NEVER EVER noticed the difference, even though budweiser tastes like yer typical piss-weak lager with a spoonful of sugar thrown if for good measure.


Geoff said...

You have to be really pissed to confuse Budvar with Budweiser.

We used to drink Budvar at our local - the barmaid had a large overbite:

"Vottle of Vud?"

Tim Footman said...

Of course, there's always Bud Lite. Which presumably is Budweiser with less alcohol and less taste. An interesting mathematical conundrum, if nothing else.

MissPrism said...

Bud gives all American beer such a bad name, too. The US could have done a lot for its terrible cervisial reputation by organising sponsorship from a consortium of microbreweries.

Kirses said...

i accidentally ordered not 1 but 2 (one for each hand!) bottles of bud in club recently, and even though i was already 3 sheets to the wind and i can't usually tell the difference between lagers - it was fucking awful.

Tim Footman said...

The problem is that decent beer (as found in microbreweries) is difficult to transport and store and, above all, difficult to keep consistent, which is why nobody's ever been able to market it on a global basis.

I kinda disagree. The crappy Euro beers Billy was discussing (Skol, Hofmeister, etc) really did taste foul. But Budweiser doesn't even have the courage of its convictions. It's all bubbles and no soap.

As Arnold Bennett put it, in the line that I want on my gravestone: "Good taste is better than bad taste, but bad taste is better than no taste." I think he was discussing aesthetics rather than bad lager, but the point holds.

Word verification: VRAUB. Small town in the Czech Republic. Kafka stopped there once on the way to Vienna, because he needed the toilet.