Published on: August 14, 2017
On Friday, we took note of an Advertising Age
report that “Bud Light, which has struggled amid the craft beer revolution, has a new message for drinkers: Simple beer is good, too.” The ads not only make a virtue out of the beer’s "four essential ingredients -- water, rice, barley and hops,” but it also pokes fun “at more complex brews.”
I commented:Now, I grant you that I have a bias here. I spend my summers in Oregon, which is sort of ground zero for great craft beer. And I almost always try to order local/craft beers wherever I happen to be.
But I have to wonder if the Bud Light folks are misjudging the zeitgeist … that the American public maybe is less interested in “simple” than in the past, at least when it comes to food and drink. Folks - especially younger folks - are more sophisticated about such things, and complexity and nuance doesn’t necessarily frighten them, at least when it comes to food and drink.
MNB reader Tom Redwine wrote:Ye gods, how about something simple like TASTE? Bud Light does not taste good. I also enjoy an abundance of local craft brews, but I stopped drinking crap like Bud Light pretty much after my first Bud Light.
I prefer a glass from one of the eleven (at last count) breweries in the area, all making some crazy-good tasting brews. Even the convenience stores are selling local crafts along with the industrials because of customer demand. There will be some folks that will not try local craft, and that's a shame; they're missing out. Yet I believe, as more and more people try something a lil' different and find they like it, as you said, they may be "less interested in 'simple'" and more interested in flavor.
MNB reader Jeff Davis wrote:The "big" vs. "craft" beer wars are a mirror of the political environment: Marketing Budweiser/InBev products as simple, good ol' American brews targets the red-state, middle-America, blue-collar demographic that is their bread and butter. It is in direct opposition to the craft revolution, which is grass-roots and locally focused, primarily serving a younger, more urban consumer. ABI is not looking to gain new market share – they are looking to regain what they've started to lose.
From MNB reader Chris Weisert:The implication seems to be that us “older” (ex?) beer drinkers are “less sophisticated and afraid of complexity and nuance” when in fact it could be that we have migrated to a really good Bourbon.
Maybe there is something to the complexity thing though since I prefer it all by itself over ice…
And from another reader:I know you can't print this, but it's worth paraphrasing Monty Python's quote.
How is Bud Light like making love in a canoe?
It’s ******* close to water.
Who says I can’t print it? I just had to clean it up a bit.
We reported last week that DineEquity, patent company to Applebee’s and IHOP, plans to close as many as 160 restaurants, more than double the number of closings that it previously had announced, though the company also said that getting rid of sub-par units would actually help the brands.
I commented:Call me a food snob, but you could shutter both chains completely and I’d never notice.
And one other thing. I have real questions about any company that lets so many stores fall into the kind of condition that closing them helps the brand. Keeping the shine on the brand - the physical location, the people who work there, the product served, and the value/values proposition - is an everyday job.
Sounds like it is a job that has been largely ignored in this case.
MNB reader Frank Fay wrote:Easy Kevin on this one, there are a lot of hard workers out there at these units. Comment on ‘they could close and I wouldn’t even notice’ sounds a bit elitist, and I don’t think you are that person. Those 24 hour IHOP’s provide an income to many a working Mom’s out there, etc…just a reminder. My nephew and his buddies frequent the ½ price apps at Applebee’s and it keeps them out of trouble as well. Point well said on keeping the units in better shape, just keep in mind that there are people’s lives and incomes at stake.
Point taken. I wasn’t commenting on their role as employers, just on their food. Sad to say, it may be fair to accuse me of being a bit elitist in such things.
Regarding savings that Ahold-Delhaize said they realized pos-merger, one MNB reader wrote:Yes, so the merger has created $137M in savings. How much of that will then be spent on the decentralization?
I would venture to say that the short term savings is a smoke screen for a company that is has internal turmoil and is losing share due to lack of focus.
Decentralization, generally is a good thing, but their issues are far deeper than that.
Ahold Delhaize probably has figured out the efficiency part. Now, they have to work on being more effective.
Got the following email from an MNB reader:In my opinion, to think that Amazon is going to be “hands off” after the Whole Foods acquisition is short sighted.
Amazon did not purchase Whole Foods to take out a competitor.
Amazon purchased Whole Foods for other reasons:
To gain access to a greater variety of offerings for their customers … Grab a larger share of the e commerce business … And to provide a “touchy-feely” experience of an actual store. Something they do not have now.
Plus with all the hype of this acquisition, how can they not overhaul Whole Foods’ “Whole Paycheck” image under Amazon as a low cost provider of high quality products. It would not be a good day for WF.
Also got the following email from MNB reader Gregg Raffensperger:Kevin, I read your column every day. You are a little more left than I, but I enjoy the point of view.
One thing that stands out in the dialogs that come in on “your views”, it’s the use of White American and African American.
If I am considered a “white American” then there are black Americans, brown Americans, yellow Americans, and red Americans.
It is pretty safe to say that the majority (another dirty word) were born here and enjoy the freedoms this country has to offer. So instead of perpetuating segregation from both sides of the line, let’s start taking a more nationalistic approach and put us into the category of American citizens.
Signed, an English, Dutch, Native American. i.e. American citizen
I use “African-American” because it is my understanding that this is the preferred term among the African-American community. That’s good enough for me.