A storm is brewing among craft brewers who say that a Budweiser Super Bowl commercial was a slap in the face to micro brews and Americans that drink them.
The ad — entitled “Brewed the Hard Way” that aired in the third quarter of the game, extolled Budweiser as a "macro" brew not to “be fussed over” –and ended with the tagline: “Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale. We’ll be brewing us some golden suds.”
(Let’s be clear: it was not the cute puppy one.)
To add insult to injury, the man featured in the ad sniffs deeply into a tulip glass of beer, sporting a mustache and hipster glasses with overlaid text that reads: "It’s not brewed to be fussed over.”
Critics say the ad is particularly tone deaf because Anheuser-Busch InBev, Budweiser’s parent company, has been buying up several craft breweries, including Elysian Brewing Co., which makes four different pumpkin brews: Dark O’ The Moon, Great Pumpkin Ale, Night Owl Pumpkin Ale and Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale. And it brewed a limited edition Spiced Pear Ale in 2013.
As the popularity of craft beer grows, Budweiser is losing its customers to younger drinkers who want small batch, hand crafted brews. A recent company study found that 44 percent of drinkers aged 21 to 27 have never tried the brand, reports Tripp Mickle at The Wall Street Journal.
But according to Brian Perkins, Budweiser's vice president of marketing, the ad wasn't meant to insult.
"It's a bold, proud statement of what Budweiser is, rather than an attack on competition," Perkins says. "It's an unpretentious beer for those who know beer."