Craft brewers send Budweiser a message

ST. LOUIS -- Budweiser came out swinging this week, in what many have interpreted as knock on craft breweries.

Titled "Brewed the Hard Way," the 60 second commercial promotes the benefits of the "macro brew" and Budweiser's century-old process of making it.

The ad touches on several differences between Budweiser and its smaller competitors, such as:

"It's not brewed to fussed over. It's brewed for a crisp, smooth finish"

"It's brewed for drinking, not dissecting"

"Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale, we'll be brewing us some golden suds."

The spot prompted strong reaction from the craft beer industry this week, including some local brewers. Many responded on Twitter.

At O'Fallon Brewery, head brewer Brian Owens also saw the ad.

"I was watching the commercial and I saw the peach and pumpkin comment, and I thought -- hey, those are two of our biggest beers!" he said.

"I think it was a complement in saying that craft beer is here to stay. And [Anheuser Busch], I think, recognizes that."

Like many other craft beer companies, O'Fallon Brewery is expanding. The company plans to open a tasting room and restaurant in Maryland Heights this spring.

But Owens said craft beer is about variety, not competition.

"Our beer is not like our competitors down the street. And we don't even see our fro the brewing community as competitors. We're friends in the industry. So, we all offer something different and that's what makes it fun," he said.

To further that point, one company made its own advertisement.

Hopstories, a Pacific Northwest-based video production company, used the same style as Budweiser to produce an ad supporting craft beer.

"I saw the [Budweiser] ad and right after watching it I was like, man –they're really picking on this industry," said Hopstories Eric Buist. "And yesterday morning I was just like – you know what? I just have to make some sort of response."

Buist also notes the variety of craft beers, and he feels that should be celebrated.

"The general feel of the beer industry is you drink what you want to drink. I mean, no one's here to push down a particular style, or to really make sure their beer sells more than any other beers."

In an emailed statement, Budweiser Vice President Brian Perkins explained the commercial:

"Brewed the Hard Way" is Budweiser's way of celebrating being a MACRO brew: a beer enjoyed by many. The prevailing discourse in beer is that small must be good, and big must be bad. We don't accept that. Lager is one of the most difficult styles to brew well, and we have the highest standards of care to get it right. We are owning who we are without apology.

We're delighted to have sparked a conversation around beer. Talking with beer drinkers since Sunday, we know the overwhelming majority are really enjoying seeing Budweiser speak up with conviction. This Bud's for them."


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