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Sunday, June 19, 2011


Serving as further evidence of Sally's Rule*, we have the latest gambit from Belgian-owned Budweiser (via email):
This week marks national flag week; which is a time to pay tribute to the greatest symbol of patriotism in our country. It is a time for all Americans to display the American flag and celebrate our freedom. It is also a time to honor those military heroes that have fought for our freedom with the American flag adorned on their uniforms. To celebrate national flag week and the patriotic season leading up to July 4th, Budweiser has altered its iconic can by creating a red, white and blue Patriot Can.

Let us count the ways in which this is wrong: it demeans the flag to be used to hawk beer; it's slimy to appropriate respect for the military to hawk beer; calling it a Patriot Can is bizarre for a foreign-owned company and strangely jingoistic. Bud, which for two decades had the most subtle, effective branding strategy in America, now uses cheap tricks as it casts about for a post In-Bev identity. Fail.

*Macros don't sell beer, they sell packaging.


  1. BeerBrewingMama1:19 PM, June 19, 2011

    I work very hard to make the beer put into those cans that you disapprove of.

    Pre-InBev and now it is the same hard working Americans that put in many long hours 365 days a year to produce this consistent, quality American lager.

    Budweiser is and always will be an All-American beer.

  2. Will it be available at the Cans Fest at the Guild Public House?

  3. BBM, I certainly didn't mean to give offense to the people brewing, packaging, and selling Budweiser. My post is purely about the flag can, which I think is badly misguided.

  4. A-B InBev is not really Belgian either. Interbrew was the Belgian company, they merged with AmBev (Brazilian), and their current management is a mix of both--the CEO is a former executive at AmBev. A-B was an acquisition by the merged InBev. It's one of those nebulous multi-national corporations and really has no state that it belongs to.

    Which pretty much makes it not "All-American" by definition, BBM.

  5. What about the fact that you are crushing up the flag and throwing it away when you are done with your beer!?

  6. I' looking forward to smoking pot out of one of those in a coupla weeks

  7. I agree... overcompensation. Using the flag to promote Budweiser just doesn't seem right. 'Patriot Can'? Oh my... lol.

  8. My guess is that BeerBrewingMama is actually an intern paid to troll blogs and put up posts. The corporate speak is just too strong.

  9. Agreed 100% with Sarlacc- you have an intern or marketer posting.

  10. On BBM. First, whether she's legit or not, her point isn't without merit. Lots of people do lots of hard work to make and sell Bud. My beef isn't with them.

    Second, is she legit? "BeerBrewingMama" turns up nothing via Google, so if it is someone from the company, s/he uses a different name each time. But personally, it doesn't look like it to me. The email is more emotional than politic and doesn't feature polished prose. I'd say it's a real person I inadvertently offended. A-B employs a LOT of people. It's certainly not inconceivable that one found this post and took offense.

  11. @Beerbrewingmama

    Funny, I always thought of Budweiser as a water down and insipid German Pilsner, but if that's what you want to call an All-American Beer, I guess public stoning should prevail.

    BTW, I don't care if you are a legitimate In-Bev employee or just a an average half witted American moron. I would bet on the latter.

  12. @Matt: Technically, you are not crushing up and throwing away the American flag; you are crushing up and throwing away (or hopefully recycling) a can with imagery based on the American flag.

    The TTB does not grant approval to beer labels that contain flags, be they real or fictitious. This is why the American flag no longer appears on Rogue American Amber bottles. And Portlanders, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't HUB have to remove the small Cascadia flag from their CDA?

    Beer and Coding in Eugene

  13. Disagree Jeff; the first and second paragraphs contain the Budweiser brand of: think about all the other hard-working Americans out there who drink (and brew) Bud. The same goes for the name. BeerBrewingMama. Nothing pulls on the emotional chords like I'm just a hard working mother (of 1.)

    Also notice the vagaries about long hours. Real internet people are more likely to tell you (or exaggerate) just how long those hours are, and in the case of BBM who brews beer, tell you just what an achievement Budweiser is. There's no technological arguments, however, no passion.

    Finally, look at the phrase "consistent, quality American lager." It's marketing speak as is All-American. Could BBM have picked it up from long hours in the brewery? Sure. But real people don't write internet messages like this. It's measured, sterile and broad, rather than barbed and pointed. So, either you've got someone who's intelligent enough to use market speak but who's dumb enough to miss the point of your post, or you've got a marketing person trying to pull at the old heartstrings and go viral. I just can't see a brewer from In-Bev taking the time to comment - not after all the heated debates on beeradvocate where even some BAs go into the technological achievements of industrial scale brewing. No one from Bud comments. I would guess because BA is not a good place to advertise whereas you have a book in the works and can maybe still reach a target audience.

    Oh, and as an aside, the fact there are no other tags for BBM is also highly suspicious. You can find my tag pretty easily with an internet search.

  14. BeerBrewingMama6:04 PM, June 20, 2011

    I am legit. I have been an AB employee for 4 years. I work as a brewing supervisor.

    I am a lover of all beer (the primary reason that I read this blog), but I am extremely passionate about the beer that I make. I may not necessary agree with all of the marketing decisions that my employer makes, but I will support them as long my paycheck continues to clear.

    The only thing that is not American about the Budweiser that I make is just few varieties of hops that are use, otherwise all of the other raw materials are grown in the US.

  15. And the fact that your paycheck ultimately comes from a Brazilian in Belgium.

  16. Well, rice mashers and beechwood boards are cool and all, but just about everyone else I know in this industry only brews malted barley and keeps it real.

  17. I guess you don't know anyone who makes German hefes, anything Belgian and most things English then.

  18. Anonymous, buy me a beer and I'll tell you who I know. And I'll even pick up the next round.