beer business

The beer’s better than the advertising

Sometimes I just don’t get beer advertising. At all. Especially when it’s linked to a tasty beer that already sells itself.

Take the guy the above video. He’s the ‘‘Beer Pilgrim’’ – as far as I can tell he got that title because he won some contest or other run by Lion. Now he seems to be used to promote their product. So far so good.

In another Beer Pilgrim vid where he introduces himself, he says he’s a ‘‘travel addict’’ who has spent the last seven years travelling the world and filming himself. Indeed he spends half of the 57 second video talking about how he loves travel.

So here’s one thing I don’t get. If he’s called the Beer Pilgrim, who cares whether he likes travelling? Shouldn’t he be talking about beer? Well, he does later but not with the same feeling that he uses to describe travel.

In fact, if I was to be totally honest, after seeing his videos to date I have to conclude he doesn’t know that much about beer at all. For instance, in a release he seems amazed that they’ve making beer from water, malt, hops and yeast for centuries. Cue facepalm.

Here’s the other thing I don’t get. The video posted above details his efforts to discover the style of Australia’s first beer. At the end of this episode, he announces he’s going to fly to Britain to continue his quest.

Or he could have just turned to page 70 of The Oxford Companion to Beer and read the following.

‘‘Governor Phillip and his officers drank four glasses of porter to toast success to the colony. This was followed by a salute of musket fire from the marines and a cheer from all assembled, including the convicts. Beer had arrived in Australia.’’

Yep, the Beer Pilgrim flew halfway around the country to discover our first beer while I just walked a few metres across my lounge room to my bookshelf to find the same information. Which pretty much makes the entire Beer Pilgrim thing pointless in my opinion.

Which is a shame because the beer he’s plugging essentially sells itself. Lion has gone and made a porter-style beer in homage to that toast of Arthur Phillip back in 1788. They’ve called The First Brew and claim it will only be available on Australia Day – and only in Sydney.

A supremely limited beer – sold only in one city on one day – with a fairly genuine link to history? Why the hell do you need more than that to sell this beer? I hear that story and I want a bottle of that beer – desperately.

Luckily for me, the Lion PR people sent me a bottle. It’s a lighter version of porter designed with our warmer weather mind. In this case, that means a porter with fruity Citra hops. The result is a very, very interesting beer. I’ve never had a porter with Citra hops so I’ve got no template to deal with this beer. At times the combination of chocolate porter notes and fruity hop flavours combine for a sour flavour – but not a “hey, this is infected” kind of sour flavour. More like the sour character you get from combining dark chocolate and fruit.

The First Brew strikes me as a very unusual beer. I’m not sure if I like it – but I know I like that Lion went and tried something like this. Fingers crossed they keep it up.

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