Insights on beer marketing & PR by a beer-war vet

01 February

Beer biffo: a great start to 2013

Forget the surprise election announcement!

It was beer biffo that captured the news. Perfect timing to kick-start beerlines for 2013.

The biff? Hardly missable across the fraternity – but too juicy not to recap.

Through Australian Brews News, editor Matt Kirkegaard maintained a constant barrage of challenges to CUB/SAB-Miller over the matter of Byron Bay Pale Lager’s provenance.

[He’s still nudging them painfully in the ribs about Crown Lager’s increasingly mysterious heritage.]

In the one corner, with almost zero-tolerance, Matt pleads for complete transparency and authenticity regarding a beer brand’s provenance.

His plea, at heart, defends what he sees as the unique point-of-difference that most ‘real’ craft breweries have over the big guys when it comes to positioning in the market; that’s being small and acting small.

In the other, CUB/SAB-Miller says let the consumer decide.

It’s an epic stoush – although stereotypically big and bad verus small and good –  with some delightfully provocative language throw around; I just love Jamie Cook’s comment on CUB’s corporate comb-over. And as Jamie brews at Byron Bay with his Stone & Wood team, I suspect he has a keen interest in .. well .. CUB’s keen interest.

Craft Provocateurs
Brew News’ provocation of this debate will – eventually through the wonders of social media – nudge consumers to think more about the beer they’re drinking, or about to buy, which they believe is craft beer.

Not all – but some. Hopefully all opinion leaders.


  • Matt Kirkegaard

    Thanks for the mention Parky, though I will take you up on a point or two.

    “CUB/SAB-Miller says let the consumer decide.” I think you need to add the line – “but refuses to provide them with the means to do that”.

    Also, this really isn’t big versus small in any way. I think all breweries should actively seek to prevent a situation where consumers are mislead. Just over the weekend I declined a request from a small contract brand to advertise on the site because I thought their communication was unclear, at best. The fact that this is CUB/SABMiller is incidental to the essential points I am making.

    That said, can you think of another example of a brewery the size of CUB licensing a small Australian brand when they could buy it for comparative pocket change?

    • beerlinesblog

      Thanks for the comment Matt. I admit my corporate affairs perspective jumps straight to the big -vs-small debate. I agree with you on the matter of transparency; I doubt any beer drinkers would argue. There’s little downside, if any, in openness and transparency. On the flip-side, if social media has taught us one thing, there’s potentially massive downside in being less than transparent. Some corporations still haven’t cottoned on to that. Cheers!