With the craft beer revolution sweeping the country, macro-breweries have found themselves backed into a corner. Dwindling sales and loss of market share have the Biff Light Think Tanks on their toes to come up with new and inventive ideas to bolster consumer relevance and retention. Unable to compete on the platform of flavor, new gimmicks such as wide-mouth openings, on-board thermometers, and even “shotgunnable cans” are being deployed by these beer giants. Do these tactics work? Do customers line up to purchase these novelty evolutions because it interests them? Do they come back for more? I guess we’ll see the answer to that in the coming years as the viability of these macro-breweries is put to the test. For the sake of argument, what if the answer to all of those questions was an emphatic “yes.” What if these ornamental promotions and outlandish marketing schemes worked? Would craft breweries follow suit? What if craft beer used the same marketing techniques as Biff Light? For the sake of this article, let’s explore these possibilities in detail:
Dogfish Head 45-pack – Quantity redefined
Dogfish Head finally comes to the conclusion that quantity trumps quality. In an attempt to one-up the competition, they begin offering their World Wide Stout in a 15×3 fashion. They quickly realize that the cardboard handle can’t sustain the weight of the added beer. In typical Dogfish Head style, they go all-out with an extended drinking backpack, adding comfortable straps made of ancient Mayan braided hair and an iPhone pouch to boot.
Surly Ice – -109.3°F, the new cold
Surly Brewing Company sees the success as well as the demand in the on-board thermometers used by Coors Light. They take this idea a step further by adding dry ice to their beer during the canning process. No need to inspect the color of the can to determine the level of coldness. Simply stick your tongue to the can. If it sticks, it’s ready to drink. These new Surly cans are triple-walled due to the inherent, volatile nature of the ingredients.
Founders ∞ ─ No stopping this hopping
Founders grew tired of hearing about Miller’s triple-hop process. They slam the door on the hop battle by creating Founders ∞. This beer not only goes through a grueling pre-bottled hop infusion, Founders has invented a process to grow hops inside the bottle. This beer undergoes infinite hop interaction with constant contact to every part of the hop plant. A short-pour is necessary as the bottom ¼ of the bottle is filled with fertile soil.
Westvleteren Platinum – ABV↑
After the success of exporting beers to the United States, the Trappist Monks decide to sell out. Westvleteren’s sales are stymied by the simple fact that their flagship, Westvleteren 12, only contains 10% ABV. Sure, the taste is world renowned, but times are changing and ABV is king. Westvleteren Platinum is a blend of Westvleteren 12 and holy ethanol; which pleases even the biggest ABV-head’s palate, and gives the religious consumer a benefit of drinking liquid that has been blessed by monks. They also decide that the old brown bottle is so 2012, and they adopt a new bottle made of pressed alluvial sand, the birthplace of Platinum ore. Who’s Platinum now?
Russian River Pliny the Hunter– West Coast Camo
Russian River foresees the deterioration in Pliny the Elder’s mystique. In an attempt to garner a new audience, they introduce Pliny the Elder – Camo Edition. This beer is the same recipe as Pliny the Elder, but with an addition of doe urine and curing salt. Pliny the Hunter is packaged in a variation of Mossy Oak Break-Up®, Mossy Oak Duck Blind®, and US Military Woodland. A limited series of this beer is also available, which can be found wrapped in a cloth Ghillie suit…or can it?
Ommegang Dale Earnhardt Jr. Series Saison – N2O = EZ Flow
Ommegang changes its current marketing scheme by promoting their beer to the beer-drinking masses. No longer relevant with their simple-yet-elegant label designs, Ommegang goes straight to the heart of the blue-collar worker with their latest addition, Ommegang Dale Earnhardt Jr. Series Saison. This beer contains a valve stem on the bottom of the oil-filter-shaped can that can be quickly connected to the provided Nitrous Oxide (N2O) cylinder. With the N2O cylinder in place, a pull-tab is the only thing that stands between your mouth and a 60 mph stream of Farmhouse fuel.