|Don't Drink the Water
A series of popular Coors commercials
that ran for several years, until fairly
recently, opened with a shot of the
Rocky Mountains and the text,
“Somewhere near Golden, Colorado.”
The ads featured Pete Coors —
grandson of the brewery founder Adolph
Coors and currently chairman of Molson
Coors Brewing Company — standing in
the snowy Rockies and commenting that
what makes Coors unique is that it is
made from that snow, after it melts and
flows in streams toward its brewery.
A new commercial for Breckenridge
Brewery, a brewpub and bottler also in
the Rockies, will look familiar since it
opens with snowcapped mountains and
the text, “Somewhere near
But after this spokesman — the head
brewer Bob Harrington, pitching the
brewery’s Lucky U India pale ale —
says the beer is brewed with “real
Colorado water,” he points to a nearby
stream and adds, “Well, not this water
— do you know what bears do in
The brewery’s total yearly advertising
expenditure is about $70,000. Coors,
which according to TNS Media
Intelligence spent $167 million.
Coors , wisely, had no comment.
|YOU can buy Pabst...the beer and the company!
Pabst,the blue-ribbon brand, has seen sales go up 30% in dollars in the U.S.this year which crushes
the beer category's overall 1.1% increase. Meanwhile, Budweiser and Corona Extra are down about
7% and 8%, respectively. The brand's success is in part due to it having cultivated a reputation as a
hipster, offbeat beer -- "retro chic" -- positioning itself as an alternative to big, mainstream brands.
For example, at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the crowd boos every time
Anheuser-Busch (BUD) wins an award, but Pabst always gets cheers.
PBR isn't actually the cheapest of the cheap. PBR is at least $1 a case more than Busch Light and
Keystone Light. While fans might like to think of the 165-year-old company as a boutique relic of
the family-owned, all-American breweries of the past, it actually doesn't own its own brewery. All of
its brewing is done at contract facilities (including some owned by MillerCoors), with Pabst
brewmaster Bob Newman overseeing the recipes. Pabst Brewing Company's portfolio
also includes beers like Colt 45 and Schlitz.
And Pabst is not family-owned but instead held by a charitable trust, which recently put it up for
sale. In 1985, Pabst was bought by Paul Kalmanovitz, who also snatched up other semi-defunct
brands such as Lone Star and Olympia. When Kalmanovitz died in 1987, he left Pabst to a charitable
trust in his name. But as charities aren't supposed to own for-profit companies, the IRS has given
the foundation until 2010 to sell off the business.
With Pabst on the market, one potential offer has emerged with a gimmick as quirky as PBR itself.
Michael Migliozzi -- managing partner of advertising agency Forza Migliozzi -- is attempting to
crowd source the purchase of Pabst by creating buyabeercompany.com. Anyone over 21 can go to
the site and pledge a minimum of $5 toward the reported $300 million sales price for Pabst. So far,
would-be beer moguls have pledged more than $20 million in about a month. If the collective raises
enough money, Migliozzi says contributors will get enough beer to match their pledges and
ownership in the company.
Today, with PBR's underdog cachet and strong sales, it's clear why your average beer drinker might
want a piece of the action. But PBR hasn't always been such a successful brand. At its low point in
2001, Pabst was moving less than 1 million barrels per year of PBR, an abysmal number for a brand
that in the late 1970s moved about 20 million barrels.
It is banned in 13 states and sure doesn't come in a six-pack.
The maker of Samuel Adams beer has released an updated
version of its biennial beer Utopias — now the highest
alcohol content beer on the market. At 27 percent alcohol by
volume and $150 a bottle, the limited release of the brandy-
colored Utopias comes as more brewers take advantage of
improvements in science to boost potency
and enhance taste.
In 1993, Koch set a new bar by creating Triple Bock, a
beverage with 17.5 percent alcohol by volume. In the early
2000s, the Dogfish Head brewery(DE) responded with
beverages of their own that went to 22 percent in a battle for
the top spot in the USA.
But the latest Utopias alcohol volume gives Koch and Boston
Beer Co. the clear title of having the strongest beer,
according to Sam Calagione, president and founder of
Dogfish Head. "I must bow before him for Utopias,"
Calagione said. "I don't think we'll be brewing a beer that
strong for a while."
Utopias has reached its unique strength through a 15-year
aging process in barrels at the Boston Beer Co.'s brewery in
Boston. It's aged and finished in wooden containers like
Scotch whisky barrels and sherry casks. The drink's yeast
strains are regularly used in making malts and champagne.
A quick sip unveils a cognac-like hit combined with vanilla,
honey, and maple flavors.
The long production cycle is what limits its availability to
once every two years. This holiday season, for example,
Koch is only releasing 10,000 bottles with the suggested
retail price of $150 apiece.