Labatt is planning an expensive, intentionally misleading ad campaign for Shock Top



Shock Top is a beer made by the massive, multinational brewing company AB-InBev.

People who drink craft beer know that Shock Top is a beer made by AB-InBev and its local consortium Labatt, and those same people who know that Shock Top is a Labatt product often speculate that the line between Shock Top and actual “craft beer” is likely left intentionally hazy so that Labatt might conceivably pass Shock Top off as craft beer–which it most certainly is not.

And while we, the stout sniffing cognoscenti, have always known in our heart of hearts that Shock Top is part of the macrobrewery effort to get “crafty” as a means to compete with (and presumably crush) small brewers, it doesn’t make it any less galling to actually see that strategy laid out on paper.

But now we can. Continue reading “Labatt is planning an expensive, intentionally misleading ad campaign for Shock Top”

So there’s a $500 Stella Artois glass


Do have $500 you are thinking about flushing down the toilet or setting on fire?

If you answered yes, hang on one second. I’d like to let you know about an even more wasteful thing to do with that money.

The good folks at Stella Artois, the world’s best selling Belgian beer, have created a $500 Stella Artois chalice adorned with Swarovski crystals. Continue reading “So there’s a $500 Stella Artois glass”

Same shit, different pile: A wholly objective look at The Beer Store’s makeover


Yesterday, the Beer Store issued a press release announcing the launch of a new “pilot series” of stores with the idea of inviting Ontarians to “meet beer.”

At a glance then, it would seem that the Beer Store had recognized that their sales model needed revision–one of the criticisms of the Beer Store is that their system of a conveyor belt and wall of labels didn’t lend itself well to introducing consumers to new products, so a re-visioning that literally invited consumers to meet beer must surely mean the Beer Store is listening to our criticisms! Right?! Continue reading “Same shit, different pile: A wholly objective look at The Beer Store’s makeover”

I don’t need labels that tell me my drink is cold


I received a press release the other day from a Canadian vodka company that recently updated their brand. In addition to a snazzy new website and new bottle shape, the press release informed me that the vodka company opted to include a new area on their label that changes colours when the vodka reaches optimal drinking temperature.

Now, I don’t have anything bad to say about the vodka–it’s actually a good, smooth, well-priced, Canadian vodka–but this sort of superfluous branding gimmick irks me.

It’s a strategy that was probably first and definitely most famously embraced by Molson-Coors when they opted to include colour-changing mountains on their beer bottle labels in 2007 (which were joined by “cold activated cans” in 2009). They ushered a new era of branding into an industry already awash with cheesy branding and arguably invented a new temperature by coining the term “rocky mountain cold.”

Now regardless of what some beer snobs might say, there is of course a time and a place for a really cold and easy to drink beer; post baseball game or following some strenuous yard work it’s hard to advocate downing a 16 degree Celsius snifter of Chimay Grand Reserve. One likely opts for something cold in these situations, whether it be rocky mountain cold, Rubbermaid cooler cold, or just plain garage fridge cold. However, choosing to market your beer on the merit of its cold temperature and the beer’s ability to let you know when it has reached that temperature is just plain stupid.  Continue reading “I don’t need labels that tell me my drink is cold”

There is no beer for Valentine’s Day


There is no “appropriate” beer for today.

In fact, you don’t have to shoehorn beer into every occasion and you don’t need to make beer relevant to whatever holiday/event/celebration might be occurring on any given day.

Perhaps today, on Valentine’s Day, that’s all the more clear.

Sorry, but beer and Valentine’s day don’t really go together; as much as a large swath of marketing people, beer writers, editors, brewers, etc. might want you to believe it.

Beer isn’t really romantic.

Beer is comforting, yes. Beer is delicious, obviously. Sharing a beer with a loved one can be a great experience. But beer sexy? No. Sorry, it’s just not.  Continue reading “There is no beer for Valentine’s Day”

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Steam Whistle

20120618 - Steam Whistle tap.JPG

Arguably no beer is more implicitly associated with Toronto than Steam Whistle. Their easy-to-drink style and prominence in most bars in the city makes Steam Whistle a reliable go-to beer for a lot of beer-drinking Torontonians and the tourist-friendly location of their brewery means that Steam Whistle is a requisite stop for a lot of visiting Jays fans looking to get a bit of a buzz before surrendering to the $9-for-a-watery-macro-lager nonsense that is the Roger’s Centre. Like it or not when people think beer and Toronto, they most likely think Steam Whistle. But how much do you really know about Toronto’s biggest craft brewer?

Here are six things you probably didn’t know about that beer in the distinctive green bottle. Continue reading “Six Things You Didn’t Know About Steam Whistle”