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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Steady Morphing of "Craft"

I have a sense that an emerging theme of blurring lines is going to play a major part of my blogging over the next few years.  It's the slow mutation of what we would have formerly called "craft" beer into something that looks a lot like mass market lager--if not in type, then certainly in branding approach.  The latest example is Austin Beerworks and the 99-pack they released to great attention this week. 

Have a look:

This isn't identical to the kind of ad you'd see during a random Seahawks game, but notice how closely it sidles up to that form:
  1. Pitched at a mass audience ("light, balanced, refreshing," "a beer for anyone")?  Check.
  2. Young people enjoying beer in nature? Check.
  3. Inexpensive?  Check.
  4. Conforms to Sally's rule ("beware a company selling packaging, not beer").  Check.
There are a few cues to the brewery's craft provenance, as well--beards, quirky comedy, irreverent images (in a brief cut, you'll see a shot of two cans recently employed in shotgunning).  In all ways that matter, though, this is effectively a little guy doing everything possible to grab some of that may-be-shrinking-but-still-gigantic mass market.  Huge brewing conglomerates are working very hard to enter the craft segment, and the little guys are trying to hop into the mass segment.

The lines blur on...

Update.  This has sparked entertaining discussions on both Twitter and Facebook.  Because, you know, blogs are nearly a dead medium.

1 comment:

  1. You have to admit that's a pretty cool idea. The lines may be getting blurred but they are still pushing the envelope.