Saturday, 20 April 2019

Voodoo marketing

I was rather amused by the latest Foster’s ad which pokes fun at beer snobs and their liking for “fancy pants beers”. Note the sandpapering of the cricket ball.

I can’t locate the story, but I remember reading a few years back about how a mainstream lager was successfully passed off as a craft blonde beer at a beer festival in Ireland. It has certainly happened in Australia.

17 comments:

  1. Love this advert, especially the ball-tampering and the fake beer name, "Voodoo Jazz Hat". Reminds me of when GKIPA won Champion Beer of Britain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It didn't (it won its category but not the CBoB).

      Delete
    2. And I think GK IPA is a very good beer when well-kept, which it seldom is outside East Anglia - a classic, subtle, bittersweet English "ordinary".

      Delete
    3. Given the national distribution of GKIPA, and the fact that Greene King own many pubs which are miles away from their East Anglian heartland, I fail to see the logic in your statement which implies that only local licencees know how to keep it.

      Caring for cask-conditioned beer isn't rocket science, despite what CAMRA would have us believe, and with a nationally distributed brand such as GKIPA most of the conditioning would be carried out at the brewery, prior to despatch.

      Dare I suggest this implied "localism" is nothing more than pure perception and yet another CAMRA inspired "myth".

      Delete
    4. Oh dear, have we got out of bed the wrong side this morning?

      It is a widely-recognised phenomenon that, the more widely distributed a beer is, the lower the average standard of cellarmanship seems to be. This was certainly the case with Marston's Pedigree when it started being sold in Whitbread pubs in the 1980s, and it is currently true of Taylor's Landlord, which is often terrible in pubco houses. You also underestimate the degree to which care by the licensee can make a huge difference to the quality of beer over the bar.

      Delete
    5. The Stafford Mudgie20 April 2019 at 11:54

      With over two centuries experience of brewing and the buying power to get the best of ingredients it's perhaps no surprise that Greene King can brew the best of beers - but restricting cask sales to their own local tied houses for quality control, as Hall and Woodhouse do, is something their accountants wouldn't allow.

      Delete
    6. GK dont restrict their cask sales to tied pubs, the issue is free of tie pubs rarely touch the stuff as it doesnt appeal to the tickers or crafties, so sells slowly occupying a space on the bar which something shinier or new could sit, which is a shame as Id agree, kept/served well IPA is a very good beer and fine example of its style which is becoming increasingly rare to see in these hop forward style days.

      as for GK tied pubs, and dont worry they are just as commonly bad even in Suffolk, which is where IPA crops up most often,outside of Yates or Wetherspoons. You are talking about a tied model where every drop of beer flowing through the pipes is measured remotely, if the till sales dont match up, they raid and shutdown the pub. Each cask is expected to sell high 90s in percent terms,any less the tenant pays the difference out of whatever profits they hope to get from it, and they are expected to sell a certain volume of beer every week as a sales target, miss the target too often the tenant is relieved, and they pull someone else in.

      absolutely theres no rocket science...or engineering, in caring for cask beer but that kind of tied pub environment doesnt lend itself to doing the basics of hygiene and care and that applies to the whole setup not just the beer, but consequently the beer often suffers as a result, cask more so because its very much the 70/30 split against lager in those pubs anyway in turnover. and the staff I dont feel ever get the training or that it sticks with them too long, alot of them think serving in a pub is just turning on a tap, pressing buttons on a till getting baskets of chips from the kitchen, you do get some decent landlords who manage to keep the beer well, but they tend to be very old school types whove been in the business for 30-40years.

      certainly for me as I visit alot more GK pubs given my locality,but Im always nervous about what kind of beer Im going to get from them, far more so than any other pubco/chain I visit and thats nothing to do with beer itself as I know it can be very good, thats down to my experiences in their pubs as a whole.

      Delete
  2. Mudge, I haven't underestimated at all the contribution made by individual licencees, but I am questioning your sweeping statement that you have to sample GKIPA in its East Anglian heartland to get a decent pint.

    Greene King operate tied pubs up and down the country, so are you saying a GK landlord in the West Country will make a poorer job of keeping this beer than his opposite number in Suffolk, because that's what it looks like.

    Btw, it's interesting to note that this post started out as yet another of your thinly veiled attacks on the craft beer sector, so how on earth it end up focusing on the cellar skills of GK licencees?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Turning the argument on its head, I do wonder if the frequently poor quality of widely distributed cask beers is, to some extent, because the sort of landlords that happen to be passionate about keeping cask well are, on balance, less likely to stock non-local National brands. Unless you're a proper long standing and loyal employee (and therefore probably more likely to have a local or at least regional connection) why would you want to be selling GKIPA, Pedigree etc.? You just wouldn't. These days you'd probably open a micropub in the free trade.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Quite a few years ago I was told by someone who worked at Youngs (Wandsworth) that the beer could only stay at its best if it was moved no more than three times, and two of those were at the brewery. It may be that modern brewing methods can eliminate this problem, but otherwise adding a distribution depot (and possibly a wholesaler or pub company's depot) into the chain could have an effect on the quality when it eventually gets to the bar. In any event, certainly can't see any benefit from shaking up a cask of beer in the back of a truck for hundreds of miles. Of course, the end result could be affected by issues such as how much fermentable material is actually left in the cask when it sets off and the time that it is allowed to settle in the cellar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ian, the information you acquired, via Young's, is absolutely correct, and it is to do with the ability of the finings to remove the suspended yeast, and other particulate matter, from the beer thereby rendering it "bright" and crystal clear.

      This ability diminishes each time the cask is moved, because every time the finings have to "work" to perform this task it takes a little longer, and they become less effective at doing this.

      Lengthy supply chains involving multiple handling of the beer does affect the quality of the beer, although other issues, such as those you mention, also play a role in determining the ultimate quality of the finished product.

      This may be why, in the past, many publicans added their own finings, once the beer had reached its final resting place - in the pub cellar.

      Delete
    2. And this is one reason why most nationally-available cask beers are pretty much brewery conditioned, containing very little sediment and having little secondary fermentation. Only good cellarmanship will coax decent taste and condition out of them, but unfortunately most pubs - especially in the large tied estates like GK and Heineken - will have them on sale just a few hours after delivery.

      Delete
    3. But the irony is that doesn't in any way guarantee good beer at the point of sale.

      Delete
  5. Down with craft beer. Boo. Hiss.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Stafford Mudgie30 April 2019 at 16:34

    Digressing from 'Voodoo marketing' how is it that I've had a pint of Robinson's Voodoo Dawn in a free house, the Lower Turks Head, but not seen it in any of their tied houses I've used recently ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was a seasonal beer for January and February, but availability of seasonals can be very patchy in Robinson's tied houses - in a sense they're more intended for the free trade.

      Delete
    2. The Stafford Mudgie2 May 2019 at 01:49

      Thanks.
      "for January and February" but it was fine towards the end of April.
      I think that was my 23rd pint of Robinsons so far this year.

      Delete

Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. To combat persistent trolling, unregistered comments are liable to be deleted unless I recognise the author. If you intend to make more than the occasional comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.