Sunday, November 12, 2006

Anheuser-Busch Promotes Food-Beer Pairings

I like to pretend I'm a beer sommelier (although one who needs much more experience to get paid), so I welcome this.

However, Joe Sixpack writes what I was thinking:
"Twenty years ago, when the average consumer thought of wine, they thought of either red wine or white wine," Shipley said. "Over the years, the wine industry did a good job of making other terms familiar - chardonnay, Chablis and so on... Getting people to understand there are a lot of different varieties of wine made people more aware of wine.

"If you make people understand that there's more variety of beer available, that tends to ratchet up their overall image of beer."

That's ironic (and maybe even hypocritical) coming from a company that has spent billions squashing all those other varieties while promoting its bland, industrial, light lager as the so-called "King of Beers." True, the St. Louis brewery now produces a handful of all-malt and flavored styles. But skeptics in the craft beer sector charge that the behemoth is only trying to glom onto a fast-growing trend that was ignited as a backlash to the lowest-common-denominator marketing engineered by A-B itself.

Indeed, 10 years ago microbrewers were already talking about the joys of, say, beef xarbonade and Belgian brown ale, even as Budweiser was still asking, "Whazzzup?"

"Here's to Beer" finally answers that question, with a refined, image-changing nod to beer lovers who increasingly understand that beer goes so well with food because beer is food.

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