In June, Miller Lite challenged 500,000 Bud Light drinkers to a taste test. Called “Know Your Beer,” the campaign invited drinkers to blind-taste the two light beers side by side to see which one they liked better.
Now the results are in. In Bud Light’s hometown, St. Louis, Missouri, 76 percent of people chose Miller Lite.
“All summer we’ve seen fantastic results from the Know Your Beer program,” Greg Butler, the vice president of Miller, said in a statement. He added that St. Louis was the ultimate testing ground “because in St. Louis, loyalty to Bud Light runs deep.”
Apparently that loyalty doesn’t preclude the viability of other beers in the market (although the success of Schlafly Brewing Company, a St. Louis-based craft brewery, already proved that). The number of St. Louis people who preferred Miller Lite was 4 percent higher than the people who chose Miller Lite in the campaign nationwide.
To get the caveats out of the way, this was put on by Miller Lite and there wouldn’t be a press push by the company if Miller Lite had lost the taste test. Also, VinePair preferred Miller Lite in a blind taste test in June as well.
Miller Lite is still the third-best-selling light beer in America after Bud Light and Coors Light, and it has some catching up to do. Then again, people seem to be over Budweiser and its products, so maybe Miller has a chance. Unless, of course, it goes up against Narragansett or a light and sessionable craft beer.
We’ve Reached Peak Craft Beer Hype
At this point in the world of craft beer, it’s no longer unheard of for people to stand in line for hours just to buy a couple of expensive, rare beers. I assumed that waiting eight-plus hours for a $20 four-pack was the peak of how far this could go. I was wrong.
On October 28 in Anchorage, Alaska, people from around the country lined up at the doors of Anchorage Brewing Company to buy a set of six barley wine-style beers called “A Deal with the Devil” for $300. There were only 440 custom-engraved boxes available.
“The reactions are insane, you got to really love something to sit out in 30-degree weather for 14 hours in line to want something this bad,” brewer and owner Gabe Fletcher told a local news station. He estimated that around 120 people flew into Anchorage just for the release, and Anchorage Brewing Company described the mass of people waiting as “tent city.”
The beers are no doubt delicious. Each is aged for 15 months in a different type of barrel ranging from Cognac to Scotch whisky to bourbon to rum. All are 17 percent alcohol by volume or more and designed for aging for two or three decades. But travel-to-Alaska level of delicious?
This is a whole new world of beer obsession. People started waiting at 9 p.m. the night before the release. In Alaska. In late October. Is there anything people won’t do for beer?
Boston Beer Company Bets the Bank on Cans and a New England IPA
Financial analysts have been swirling rumors that Boston Beer Co., the parent company of Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, Coney Island Brewing Company, and others, should go up for sale. From everything I’ve read and conversations with founder and owner Jim Koch, that’s not going to happen.
Still, the talk persists because Boston Beer Co.’s stock has been lacking that winning feeling for a couple of months now. Most recently, the company’s public stock dropped on October 27 after beating profit expectations and not matching revenue expectations.
Now, the latest from Boston Beer Co. is … cans! Because millennials love cans, right?
Sam Adams will release its new lager-ale combination SAM ’76 (which I tried last month and was delighted by) plus a Sam Adams New England IPA in cans. An analyst for the financial company Credit Suisse said the aluminum move “could help increase its appeal with millennial consumers and also improve the profitability.”
Cans have been the move for years now. Ever since Oskar Blues put the first craft out in cans, brewers have been utilizing them because they’re cheaper and travel better than clunky bottles. Plus they’re satisfying to crush.
Even wine labels like Union Wine Company’s Underwood, Colterris Winery, Infinite Monkey Theorem, and many others have gotten into canning.
As for Boston Beer Co., regardless of the container, a NEIPA made with Sam Adams’ budget and experience will be something to look out for.