Monthly Archives: October 2008

AHU: Budweiser puts on a patriot act

graphic by Ben Peck

graphic by Ben Peck

Anheuser-Buscher overcompensates after merger with Belgian company InBev

How many Budweiser advertising slogans can you recall? I bet it’s at least three. To name a few, there’s “This Bud’s For You,” “The King of Beers,” the image of Clydesdale horses (even ones trained to act like Rocky), and, of course, the three frogs croaking, “Bud,” “Weis” and “Er.” The marketing wizards at Anheuser-Busch, the brewers of Bud, must be proud of the level of pop culture ubiquity that their commercials can claim; they must also be among the highest paid in the industry – and that’s the advertising industry, not just the beer world.

When a company spends so much money on advertising, every decision is made with the calculated precision of branding. In 2009, a 30-second slot during the Super Bowl, arguably Budweiser’s most effective medium, will cost an average of US$3-million. That much money makes even an absurd ad campaign – like two guys on couches yelling “Waazzaaaaaa” into the telephone – a planned investment on the part of Budweiser.

[Note: this particular advertisement has come back to haunt Anheuser-Busch in the form of an Obama ’08 support spot. The brewing company, which never bought the full rights for the concept when the original ad ran eight years ago, can do nothing but watch as the popularity of their product is used to endorse a presidential candidate.] Continue reading

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AHU: A match made in heaven

photo by Lucy Segal

photo by Lucy Segal

There are many theories as to why beer goes so well with barbeque. They range from the scientific (I’ve actually read that beer can absorb carcinogens on meat cooked over charcoal), to the sociological (the connection between working class food and drink), to the culinary (“if something tastes good, don’t question it”)

I like to think that beer should be drunk with barbeque because the two share an amazing regional quality. Ribs, like beer, are unique to wherever it’s made. Each regional variation of barbeque has its own sauce, and the belief that all others are inferior. In North Carolina, vinegar-based sauce is king, whereas South Carolinian barbeque has a mustard-base; that familiar tomato-y stuff most of us think of as “Bar-B-Q sauce” hails from Memphis.

As a Yankee with no sauce to pledge allegiance to, when I chow down on ‘que I try as many as possible with hopes of chancing upon just the right combination of flavours. The same approach should be taken to pairing beer with barbeque, and with all food. We need to go beyond the image of a suburban dad manning the grill, “kiss the cook” apron on, ice-cold light beer in hand. Continue reading

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