The new Budweiser ad is very similar to the one that aired during the Super Bowl that had much of the craft beer community up in arms. Since it’s not the Super Bowl I haven’t seen as much discussion about this one. It’s still an attack on craft beer, but it’s perhaps a wee bit more subtle than specifically calling out the Pumpkin Peach Ales.
You’ve probably seen the commercial, as it’s certainly aired a bunch of places now. It’s the same type of ad as the first one, big bold lettering with buzzwords proclaiming their point.
This one’s about pairing Budweiser with hamburgers. It calls them the original power couple, and features images of sizzling patties and well put together burgers, juxtaposed with beechwood and Budweiser images. It proclaims ‘quality meat’ over the burger, and then ‘quality’ over the Bud. I wonder why they couldn’t think of a noun for the beer? Quality... adjunct? The commercial uses a couple of different burgers, some of which almost seem like ‘craft burgers’, but really hones in on the traditional American burger with yellow cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. It also features such poetic phrases as “The official food of food” and “The official beer of beer.”
The craft beer knock comes in near the end. It shows a burger sitting next to a glass of what looks like an oatmeal stout with the caption ‘This could be a debate’. Then they take the glass away and put a Bud there, flashing up ‘but it’s not’.
The thing is, of course it’s not. A Bud would be absolutely destroyed by a flavorful hamburger: You might as well be drinking water. I’m not sure an oatmeal stout would be my first choice of burger pairing either, but at least that maltiness would play off the richness of the meat. My pick would be a hoppy amber type beer. I’d want some bitterness to cut through the fat, sort of like you would with a sharp cheese on the burger, but I’d still want enough malt to meld with the patty almost like a glaze. Maine’s Zoe comes to mind, perhaps because I just had a bottle of it... with a burger now that I think about it.
On one hand it’s good that Budweiser is treating beer as something that can and should be paired with quality food. It’s clear that the attack on on craft beer is simply because craft beer is trendy these days. If wine was the drink of choice there would’ve been a glass of red wine there. Much like the first ad this is aimed at keeping the base of drinkers they already have, almost shaming them into not trying new things.
“Why would you want a fancy dark beer with your burger? Look how great this goes! You have everything you need.”
On a more fundamental note, it’s really only about the excuse to say the words “Budweiser” out loud a few times to millions of people. It’s mostly just an ad, not a movement of troops in some grand war. Still, Budweiser taking jabs at craft beer feels personal and only adds to the myriad of other reasons to dislike the company.
What would you pair with your cheeseburger?
Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd. His last Bud was November 15th. It was old and stale. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.