Dan Fox
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Budweiser takes on beer pairing… and wins

The King of Beer’s craft-beer-inspired “brewed the hard way” strategy continues to drive its advertising.

Beer pairing: Up to now, a geeky pursuit

Beer pairing: Up to now, a geeky pursuit

And in a bit of jiu-jitsu creativity, Budweiser is now using a precious craft-beer practice to register its own everyman distinctiveness.

“Pairing” — bringing together particular food items with complimentary beers–has been in vogue with craft-beer aficionados for some time. People identifying themselves as “cicerones” cannot contain their excitement at rendering beer-food recommendations. What’s somewhat less delightful is the know-it-all geekiness that seems to go hand-in-hand. Who really wants to be lectured about which raspberry ale will go best with a slice of brie?

It’s not enough the un-annointed experts are insufferable about beer, must they double-down and be insufferable about food, too?

Nevertheless, the distinctiveness of a beer paired with the distinctiveness of a particular food does in fact have some merit. Beer goes great with food. But for the majority of drinkers, those food choices are most likely to be a slice of pizza or a burger. And for Budweiser, that simple insight spelled opportunity. See for yourself…

Though it doesn’t use the cicerone-y word, here’s an ad about pairing Budweiser and burgers. “The official beer of beer, meets the official food of food. Quality ‘meats’ quality.” Nice.

The best part? The sharp elbow for the crafties that removes a beer-snifter glass (“goblet” to the cognoscenti) bearing very dark-colored, implicitly heavy-tasting beer, and replaces it with a refreshing-looking, tall glass emblazoned with the Budweiser logo. This is a compelling visual statement of competitive distinctiveness, and it’s based on fact. Budweiser’s lighter-than-craft-beer taste actually is a better companion for a burger, an assertion most beer drinkers would endorse and accept.

Distinctiveness, the basis of Budweiser’s “brewed the hard way” strategy, is cleverly brought to life… with a burger on the side.

Anything missing?

As we’ve noted before, Budweiser could gain some traction for their distinctiveness effort by better defining the beer’s taste-experience in a way that’s true to the beer, desirable, and different from craft beers. We offered one idea. There are certainly others. But regardless, distinctiveness is the underlying driver for Budweiser, and they’re doing a good job of it.

Including this tasty effort.

Click here to read more of Hey Beer Dan’s articles.

3 Responses to “Budweiser takes on beer pairing… and wins”

  1. chad says:

    Hmm……..free water from the tap or pay-for bud to go with my burger? Clear choice.

  2. Ryan says:

    “IWhat’s somewhat less delightful is the know-it-all geekiness that seems to go hand-in-hand. Who really wants to be lectured about which raspberry ale will go best with a slice of brie?”

    Seriously why should wine geeks have all the fun? Wine snobs have been boring us for ever, give beer peeps a chance now. If the wine geeks can drone on about what facing slope produces the best wine for the slice of hand rasied goat loin, no reason the beer geek shouldn’t.

    As for Budweiser getting in on it, seriously? “Budweiser’s lighter-than-craft-beer taste actually is a better companion for a burger, an assertion most beer drinkers would endorse and accept.”

    What world are you coming from? A burger in the wine world demands a strong red to stand up to the strong flavors and fat. A beer/water like Budweiser is not the best pairing for a burger, it’s the best liquid maybe to rehydrate, but not to blend and pair with the flavor of the burger. Or at least to my wine/beer geeky palate.

    Budweiser is throwing a hail mary pass as they try to figure out how to stem to the revolt to the craft beer world from their watered down hamlet. Fear is the only driving factor at this point.

  3. Ben says:

    Yeah , we get it. You’re good at writing ad copy. Budweiser still tastes awful, though. They should change their slogan from “brewed the hard way” to “brewed to maximize shareholder value,” because that’s literally what it is.

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