Friday, 2 November 2007

Beer O’Clock – Good News, Bad News

Neil Miller from Realbeer dishes out brickbats and bouquets to two of the countries biggest brewers...

First, the Bad News: Speight’s have apparently decided to discontinue their Pilsner, Pale Ale and Porter. These three beers in their craft range were fine examples of what big breweries could do when they put their expertise to good use and the Speight’s Porter, in particular, was technically a fine drop.

Quite why the craft beers have been discontinued and are now disappearing off the shelves rapidly is unclear. I have heard stories of poor sales, brand confusion or even an infection in the trademark kauri gyles.

I fear it was because the craft beers were hard work to make and less profitable for the company – real ingredients cost real money after all. It is unfortunate that these beers are being quietly dropped at exactly the same time Speight’s is investing heavily in promoting their “Shipping a Speight’s Ale House to London” campaign. Unfortunately, by the time the Speight’s Ale House arrives, there'll be little worth pouring out of the taps.

With the sad demise of the Pilsner and Porter, it is perhaps time to unveil my (unwitting) role in their launch. I have this story from an impeccable source in the liquor industry though I can not obviously verify it entirely.

At one of the first Brew New Zealand beer shows – held in the Victoria University Staff Club, no less – I was an eager young acolyte being schooled by my Beer Mentor Dr Girven.

At the end of the show, the organisers said people should finish their drinks and leave. We carefully manoeuvred ourselves in front of the unguarded Speight’s taps and cunningly continued to fill up our cups behind our backs. I drank the Pilsner, he drank the Porter. We continued to pour until both kegs were finished and we politely took our leave.

Unbeknownst to us, the beer show was apparently a test run for the beers. If they were finished, the beers would be added to the permanent range. So, our surreptitious consumption – which I’m sure everyone noticed – may have played some part in getting these products to market, for five years at least.

And now, the Good News: Kudos for Tui for putting their considerable marketing support in behind the Movember campaign. This includes new billboards (“I can grow one, I just choose not to”) and the new Mo Trimming teams.

Tui says Movember
has afforded Kiwi lads a unique and irreverent way to comfortably communicate and support a charity that addresses a serious health issue for New Zealand males – Prostate Cancer.

Obviously Tui was stoked to be given the nod to partner Movember in 2007 as an official sponsor, building on the previous success of raising awareness and funding. And in more good news, the Tui Brewery Girls are so fired up they've offered their Mo trimming services for the month as the Official Tui Mowing Service -- similar to 'Jim's Mowing' but equipped only with hair trimmers and little in the way of protective clothing.
“Joking aside,"says unusually serious Brand Manager Jarrod Bear, "I believe it is fantastic that the conservatism that surrounds a serious men’s health issue in NZ can be broken down through the innovative, irreverent Movember campaign. And if Tui can add value to this campaign, that is bloody brilliant!”

Movember is huge this year. My inbox has been weighed down with invitations to sponsor guys looking to emulate Tom Selleck or – heaven forbid – Michael Laws. These include noted beer scribe Cam Williamson and hardened Radler drinker Mike Heine. My friend Grant takes every opportunity to grow dodgy facial hair so this charity was made for him. However, I worry that my mate Goldie will spend all month growing his mo… and no one will be able to tell.

Cheers and best of luck lads, Neil

1 comment:

  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Pilsner on many occasions. I will be sad to see it go.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.