Food & Drink

Beer Fans Unhappy With Budweiser Super Bowl Ad Mocking Craft Drinkers

Granted, it was an odd year for Super Bowl commercials (who else is still wincing over that dark Nationwide ad?) But while Budweiser tugged at heartstrings with its classic puppies-and-Clydesdales display, it also threw shade at craft beer drinkers in its "Brewed The Hard Way" ad.

In the clip, images of a mustachioed, bespectacled man pondering a snifter of dark beer are juxtaposed with scenes of animated crowds drinking Budweiser bottles at neighborhood bars. "Budweiser Proudly a Macro Beer," reads the text. "It's not brewed to be fussed over...Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale. We'll be brewing us some golden suds."

Naturally, the ad wasn't well-received by those who pride themselves on their taste in brew:

But it's no secret that Budweiser's longtime reign as "king of beers" is in peril. In November, the Wall Street Journal reported that America's shift toward craft beer translated to decreasing sales for the brand. By Anheuser-Busch InBev's account, "44 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 27 have never tried a regular old Budweiser."

Anecdotally, that's playing out in Connecticut as well. The desire for craft beer has expanded the target demographics at Eli Cannon's in Middletown, general manager Rocco Lamonica told The Courant. "These last one-and-a-half, two, years, it has been on a different level in the state. Everybody from a 21-year-old to a 50-year-old is drinking craft beer instead of Bud Light," he said.

The beer bar, about to mark 21 years in business, used to have a solid 35-50 age demographic. "Now it's 25-50. We didn't lose the older crowd; we just gained 10 years of a younger crowd," Lamonica said. The staff plans to update its line of apparel to reflect Eli's newer audience.

The irony of Sunday's ad was not lost on craft fans, either. Budweiser's parent company has been buying smaller craft breweries for years, and it didn't take long for eagle-eyed drinkers to point out that Elysium Brewing of Seattle, which was just purchased by InBev last week, produces "Gourdgia On My Mind"...a pecan peach pumpkin amber ale.

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