Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Let’s talk about sexist beer marketing

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Women drink craft beer.

It seems like a pretty obvious statement, but apparently it needs to be said.

So I’ll say it again, this time with dramatic punctuation: Women. Drink. Craft. Beer.

They drink a lot of it and the number of women who are discovering the craft beer industry is growing every single day.

As of 2013, women account for 25% of total beer consumption by volume in the United States and they account for 37% of total American craft beer consumption.

A recent poll suggests that beer is now actually the first choice of alcoholic beverage for US women aged 18 to 34 (Take that, white wine).

Women work in craft beer, too. According to a 2014 Auburn University study, the United States brewing industry is now roughly 29% female.

And while statistics on gender-specific drinking habits here in Canada aren’t quite so robust as those recorded by our YUGE neighbours to the south, even a cursory glance at our local brewing scene would suggest that here in Ontario women are embracing craft beer just as wholeheartedly. Continue reading


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An honest public relations invitation

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from:aywf@edgyconceptspr.com
to: undisclosed recipients
date:Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 10:58 PM
subject: Exclusive sneak peak

Hi food and/or drink blogger!

I have never read your blog before, and in fact had never even heard of you before today, but I’d like to mention your website by name here in my opening so that it seems like I am a reader of yours and not a public relations intern contacting you with an unsolicited invite to a marketing expense disguised as an event.  I especially liked that one recent post of yours on that thing you wrote about.

I’m reaching out today because I Googled a few keywords relevant to the food and drink industry in this geographical region and, as a blogger with a tangential relationship to the restaurant I’m representing, you and the 50 other internet-based media types I will be contacting today will probably be very interested to learn about the the event for which I’ve been tasked with generating buzz. Continue reading


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Some advice to Budweiser about next year’s Super Bowl ad

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In case you missed it, last night during the Super Bowl, Budweiser opted to double down on a marketing strategy that sets its sights squarely on making craft beer seem like the drink of pansies.

Last year during the Super Bowl we learned that Budweiser is “brewed the hard way,” and this year, via galloping, muscular Clydesdales and manly men doing the hard work of brewing Bud, they proudly proclaimed they were “not backing down.”

This is interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that last year’s ad (which to my mind better “pansified” craft beer than this year’s) was so roundly ridiculed in the days that followed Super Bowl 49 that it’s shocking to see the tact repeated this year, albeit less effectively. It’s also amusing to note (as others have and will again) that AB-InBev attacking craft beer (again) is profoundly hypocritical given that the strategy is paired with one that has seen them buying up said pansy craft breweries in the last few years. Continue reading


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Budweiser is now officially marketing to people who already drink Budweiser

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Yesterday, Budweiser released the commercial below. In it, the marketing giant who also happens to sell beer successfully continues their new advertising strategy, which is seemingly an effort to troll hipsters; a strategy that they unofficially launched with their now infamous Super Bowl ad that featured bearded scenesters sniffing mutli-coloured beer flights in small glasses and positioning them as diametrically opposed to people who drink “real beer” “made the hard way.”

This new ad is aimed once again squarely at the hipster set (whom they identify without ever saying the word hipster, only by stating their setting: Brooklyn, a word that probably serves pretty handily as a short hand signifier of “all things pretentious and effeminate” to any macro-drinking, flag waving, fly-over-state-dwelling “real person”). In it, they set up a fake bar, put an actor into some hipster clothing (i.e. plaid), and have said pseudo-cool-guy serve unwitting hipsters some ice cold Budweiser.

The stage is set for an epic burn!

But does it work? I don’t think so.

Presumably the folks at the ad agency Budweiser hired to make this farce will think this campaign is a success owing to what I imagine will be high numbers in the only currency that matters these days, traffic, but it’s hard to view this ad with anything close to a critical eye and not see it as a failure, for a couple reasons. Continue reading


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80 alternatives to Guinness to drink this St. Patrick’s Day

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Guinness is a pretty great beer.

It’s got a long storied history dating back to roughly 1770, is arguably one of the most famous beer brands in the entire world, and will forever be the stout against which all other stouts are measured.

It also tastes good. I enjoy an occasional Guinness and you’ll likely find that, if you’re with a fan of good beer but trapped in some shitty bar where the tap lines are all purchased by breweries, that beer fan will likely just order a Guinness because, among the other ubiquitous big names, it’s generally the one consistently reliable and decent beer that’s available virtually everywhere and, provided the beer is fresh and the lines are clean, is an interesting, comforting, rich, and creamy stout.

But come every god damn March, I come to hate Guinness. I detest the idea that we’re supposed to drink more of the black stuff–which already sells in excess of 850 million litres a year–in order to commemorate the death of Ireland’s patron saint. There is so much Guinness marketing crammed down our throats in the lead-up to March 17th every year that it’s enough to make you rage vomit bile so thick and creamy as to rival the famous dry stout itself.

So this St. Patrick’s day, I say fuck Guinness.

The notion that we have to drink a certain thing on a certain day just because a huge marketing campaign tells us we have to is bullshit, man *flips collar on leather jacket, lights cigarette*

If you must go out and drink or otherwise celebrate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland or mark the occasion of the lifting of Lenten restrictions you almost certainly don’t actually follow, why not drink something else? Continue reading


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What the hell is Crazy Beard?

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You may have seen the above-pictured monstrosity on the shelves along with the cider in your local LCBO lately.

It’s “Wild Apple Ale” from Crazy Beard and even though the product is called Crazy Beard “Wild Apple Ale” it lives in the cider section since it isn’t actually a beer. I’m not even sure it would meet strict definitions of cider, but presumably the company is so “Wild to the Core!” they just don’t care about conventional things like “accurately labeling a beverage.”

I have seen the atrocious can on shelves before and while it offended me in a way that only a snotty beer and beverage purist can be offended, I put it off as simply something that doesn’t interest me. Life is too short to rage at all the overly-sweet alcoholic beverages that don’t meet with my approval. However, as it turns out, in addition to the label being questionable from a design standpoint, it seems the can wrap isn’t really the highest quality material either. I was alerted to this fact by an intrepid reader who sent me the picture below this afternoon.

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Yes, it appears that Crazy Beard Wild Apple Ale’s label is hiding something of a surprise under all that wacky design. As my anonymous tipster speculated, this “Apple Ale” might actually just be William Premium Canadian Cider–or at the very least, is sold in William Cider cans. Continue reading


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Nickel Brook’s Naughty Neighbour is now available in cans

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In case the title of this post and the image above didn’t make it abundantly clear: Nickel Brook’s Naughty Neighbour is now available in cans.

You can find the 473mL cans now at the LCBO for $2.80.

Personally, I’m excited about this for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I’m a big fan of the current trend toward sessionable pale ales. There has been an argument made as of late that “sessionable” is basically just a nice way to say the beer facilitates binge drinking. Frankly, I’m OK with that. Yes, I am a nerdy beer-sniffing snob and am capable of approaching beer with a discerning, critical eye, nose, and mouth, but there are also times I feel like drinking three, four, five, even six of the same beers in one sitting. And Naughty Neighbour is actually chief among my beer choices when I opt to do so. The 4.9% American Pale Ale is aromatic, with all the grapefruity, citrusy, bitter goodness I love in a pale ale but at wholly reasonable 4.9% (and I know it seems like I’ve been giving a lot of love to Nickel Brook lately, but let’s face it, they’re making some good beer). Continue reading