All the News You Can Drink: Newcastle Gets Real, Shipwrecked Brew and more


Newcastle Gets Real

Newcastle has taken a new tack in its advertising and it’s all about turning old beer advertising on its head. Beer marketers love to throw “heritage” imagery at consumers to make beer drinkers feel like they are part of something bigger, so Newcastle decided to go back to its roots, the English town of Newcastle, where residents—known as Geordies—are filled with humor and realism. The result? Newcastle’s “No Bollocks” ad campaign.

“If you look at the Geordies, they’re very friendly, down-to-earth; they don’t take themselves too seriously, and tell it like it is. We figured that is a really interesting space for us to be in,” says Newcastle Brown Ale Brand Director Charles van Es, according to Fast Company‘s FastCoCreate blog. “We wanted to use that wit and dry sense of humor as our brand voice. We want to be transparent about the fact that we’re marketing to you and the fact that our beer comes from England.”[more]

When Newcastle and ad agency Droga5 did research before creating the campaign, guys told them that they thought most beer ads were ridiculous. “So we said, let’s pull back the veil on stupid, deceitful, and deceptive tactics, and let people know exactly what we want,” said Tom Naughton, Droga5 group strategy director. We want to entertain you, but we also want your money.”

You can’t fault these guys for not being honest.

Beer Stashed Under the Sea Being Rebrewed

It’s likely been more than 150 years since anybody has tasted the beer that is being recreated in Finland. And it’s not being brewed from a handed-down recipe. This brew-in-the-making was found in 2010 under the sea in a shipwreck, where it had been for 170 years. 

“It is one of the world’s oldest preserved beers,” PSFK reports, and is now being brewed up by Finland’s Stallhagen brewery. Consumers should be downing the stuff by the summer of 2014. You might not want to take it on a boat with you, though.

Shipwrecks and those who survive them have been interesting marketing venues for liquor brands. Captain Morgan sponsored a shipwreck that supposedly had once been the at-sea home of the liquor’s namesake. And the bottles of whisky found frozen under explorer Ernest Shackleton’s hut in Antarctica 102 years after he died also were remade and sold for $157 a pop.

Smirnoff Looking to Flavor Europe’s Vodka

Want some coffee in your vodka? Smirnoff is hoping so. The new brand, Espresso Smirnoff, will hit stores in the United Kingdom in April and the Russian company hopes that it will help grow its flavored-vodka biz in Europe.

“There is a significant opportunity to grow flavored vodka sales in the UK, as we can learn from the US where flavored vodka accounts for 18 percent of the total vodka category,” said Karen O’Shea, marketing manager for Smirnoff Western Europe at Diageo, according to The Drinks Business blog. If folks get into the different taste, Smirnoff has plenty of others to throw at them, including lime, green apple, vanilla, and blueberry.

More Booze News:

  • There is a little less wine in the world, we’re sad to share. “World wine production dropped 6 percent in 2012 to the lowest level in at least 37 years,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports

  • Mike Ditka, who won one Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears as a player and another as the head coach, now has his own wine label that he introduced at the restaurant of another NFL Hall of Famer, Shula’s Steak House

  • Former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe now heads up a boutique winery in Washington state. He visited Massachusetts lawmakers this week in hopes of helping change a law there that would ease restrictions on receiving wine through the mail. There are currently only 11 states with such restrictions and Bledsoe told the Boston Herald that getting Massachusetts to change would likely make it easier to get the rest.

  • Tucson, Arizona, will have a new Walmart this fall and its owners would like it to be able to sell liquor. Residents have been fighting it and the City Council will recommend a denial but the final decision will fall to the state Liquor Control Board. 

  • Just as the wine industry has found interesting ways to combine grapes into new, high-end flavorings, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says the brand’s new R&D farm in Costa Rica will be used to “use technology and best practices to cross varietals … and create micro lots of very special rare, high-quality coffees,” CNBC reports

  • Sending messages via falcon isn’t something you do every day, but Brazilian beer brand Brahma bought itself a slew of publicity when it took that route to send Brazilian football team Corinthians messages from fans when the team traveled to Japan.

  • Generally, product placement deals are made with specific shows or films. MillerCoors has broken ground and signed a deal with an entire network: TBS and TNT. One result of the deal is that new TBS comedy Sullivan & Son is set in a bar that serves, you guessed it, only MillerCoors products.

  • For those who like a little tequila with their soccer, you are in luck for the second year in a row. El Jimador has released a limited-edition soccer bottle that features logos of Major League Soccer teams and the league itself. 

  • Molson has introduced a new beer to its collection, the Molson Canadian Wheat, and the brewer suggests it “pairs well with delicate foods such as garden salads, light soups, vegetarian meals, white fish, seafood and sushi.” And hockey, of course.

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors still dominate the American beer market but their bottom line has been eaten into for the past few years while small craft breweries have been rising, those of which now account for 6 percent of the market. 

  • A new economic impact study shows that beer and everything tied to it “directly and indirectly contributes $246.6 billion annually to the U.S. economy.” Plus, it is responsible for more than two million jobs, which accounts for “nearly $79 billion in wages and benefits and more than $246.6 billion in economic activity.” Drink up, America.

  • While cardinals were gathered at the Vatican to elect the latest pope, a wine-shop owner in California got a call from the Vatican to see if he had “hundreds of bottles of 2008 Varvaglione “Papale” Primitivo di Manduria.” Could they have been for the 115 cardinals in attendance? 

  • Bulleit Bourbon has partnered with Jeymes Samuel to bring to life untold stories of American outlaws via a branded entertainment project: a short film, They Die By Dawn.

  • Single malt scotch whisky maker Glenmorangie is inviting fans of the brand to help “shape “ a new limited edition version of the liquor. Consumers will get to join the director of distilling and whisky creation at five different stages of the process before the beverage is released in late 2014.

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