advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It’s a Portland vs. Boston craft beer showdown!

Not quite, but read on. Oh he of Northwest territories, David from AdPulp found a spot from BridgePort Brewing Company that I dig. Not just because I grew up in a Bridgeport 3,000 miles east of that one, but the more legit *craft* homespun feel that it has.

It’s also one that Sam Adams keeps going for and misses. R/West (of Trunk Monkey fame, one of my favs) takes a Beervana approach in the positioning of Oregon and Washington that I figured other beers would’ve tried by now. (More alcohol sites should also handle age verification the way BridgePort does with the simple over/under one-click thing, done.)

At the risk of reading into things, the patriotic revolution theme with a dose of Made in America vibe, topped off with drum and offbeat flute opens up some stuff. The theme fits them, don’t get me wrong, but that *American Made* theme seems to be one this country is torn between lately when it comes to other brands and their ads. It raises the point again for me:

Does Made in America resonate the way it used to and can you sell using it?

“Buy American” was the mantra of your parents and grandparents, who were trained to purchase based on allegiance to country alone, even at the expense of quality. Their spawn were subsequently made to feel guilty for not following suit, and now, a generation of consumers seeks value wherever we can find it.

Be it overseas or domestically, “Buy American” has faded in messaging while a subtle shift to “Made in America” is underway, albeit weaker than in years past.

Still, to anyone wanting more cupholders, flag be damned— I need me some value. At least, perceived value.

Detroit clings to Buy American/Made in America. New Balance stretches to fit into that designation, and American Apparel focuses on American jobs (as long as you’re a near-perfect American). On and on it goes. BridgePort can lay claim to being made here, no problem, and with a handcrafted theme feels more real than Sam Adams.

Jim Koch and Co. are now pushing “We’re just a small beer” with patriotic messaging that says they only have 1% of the domestic beer market. Okay, but their output is still 2 million barrels a year, 20 times what Bridgeport puts out annually.

There’s also contradiction in Sam Adams being comfortable with the designation of “largest” American brewer while still trying to cling to humble roots. (Once InBev bought Anheuser-Busch, Sam became the largest American brewer by default.)

Prior to that, they tried to jump to the big leagues with ads in the past that had them shed the homespun craft vibe. They can legitimately lay claim to historic roots circa 1860, as Koch is a fifth-generation brewer, but I’m just not sure they know who they want to be.

Then of course, there’s location, location, location. Sam Adams used to be contract brewed at separate locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio (beyond the smaller testing/tour brewery in Boston). While it’s still made in those other states, they now own those breweries.

It’s relevant in that the implication of saying handcrafted usually means there’s also an expectation of hometown too. (Pretty hard to find a Bahstan accent in Ohio, no?)

Given so many micros seem to get bought up, who knows how long the BridgePorts of the country can remain American with their homespun vibe of a national beer brewed here intact?

1 comment:

joi said...

I personally love the new Guinness "fortune favors the bold" ads. They're very cool.
You should check them out.