Giving up beer for Lent?

Giving up beer for Lent?

No, not quite. Contrary to rumour, I haven’t given up my beer or my beerbloggery for Lent.

I have been kept busy with real work and other things, but I have been enjoying some good beers, good bars and good company. I have also been working with passionate beer fan Steph Coutts to organise a beer-themed fundraiser for Christchurch SPCA. More on this soon.

I’ve had a couple of questions about previous blogs. The current liquor reform process has raised questions about supermarkets using beer and wine as loss leaders, i.e., selling them at less than cost to attract customers into buy other things like chippies, Berocca and disprin.

Both New Zealand supermarket chains deny this, although Countdown’s Australian owners have used the technique in Australia. My reading is that the supermarket chains, especially Foodstuffs, have such dominant buying power that they do not have to sell beer and wine at a loss.

Someone may well be making a loss somewhere up the supply chain, but it won’t be the supermarket chains.

And I’m not surprised to see the DB Export ‘Morton Coutts’ ad back on air. Ad agency Colenso has remade the ad with minor editing that removes references to the 1951 Waterfront Lockout.

The ASA complaint that forced the ads withdrawal was made about misleading references to this industrial dispute, not about any statements about beer itself. Like many beer ads, it seems agencies want to say as little as possible about the actual product.

Expect more controversial beer advertising this year. Lion Nathan has appointed a new agency to plug its overall brand while keeping other agencies looking after individual products. This kind of environment typically results in new campaigns as the different agencies compete to win the client’s favour. The DB Export campaign was driven by an agency that had just won the Export contract while another agancy flogs the overall DB brand.

And former ad-man and 42 Below founder Geoff Ross is now a part-owner of Moa brewery, with stated plans to use it to develop and internationally-recognised beer brand. That’s exactly what he did with 42 Below before selling it off to Bacardi in 2006, largely through controversial advertising and promotions.

Wow of the week – Crooked Cider. There are plenty of ciders around at the moment, some good, some bad and few exceptional. Crooked Cider may well be the only New Zealand-made cider that uses real cider apples rather than cooking or eating apples. Cider apples can be virtually inedible, sharp and full of tannin, and Crooked Cider is much crisper and drier than other local offerings. It’s bottle-conditioned and cloudy too, making a challenging experience for anyone who thinks cider is sweet stuff for the girls. This could be the start of good things for the NZ cider industry, and I would be happy to see and taste more local cider of this quality.

And of course, March 6 brings the annual release of Taieri George, Richard Emerson’s tribute to his late father. I haven’t tried this year’s batch yet, but that situation will change this afternoon!

Cheers!
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14 Responses to “Giving up beer for Lent?”

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