Beerlines

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

Archive for the 'Cavalier Brewery' Category

01 December
0Comments

CSR: Cavalier Social Responsibility 2

Excuse my returning to this initiative which I raved about earlier.

But it deserves it.

Despite their scale, Cavalier Brewing has punched well above its weight with its Cavalier Courage. Indeed there are some CSR lessons here for the big brewers .. well, any company really.

Cavalier Courage
It’s an easy drinking craft beer just in time for summer: just released in a 330 mL bottle. More importantly it’s been created to raise awareness and funds for Motor Neuron Disease.

There’s lots about this effort that’s commendable for obvious reasons. However, I was especially impressed that the Cavalier team designed the label too. Courageous: but it’s worked (in my view).

In case your not up on your Greek myths, the label features Sisyphus, who was punished and condemned to roll a boulder up a hill only to see it roll down every time. As there is no cure yet for Motor Neuron Disease there are unfortunate parallels in Sisyphus’ plight and those suffering with MND.

Cavalier Courage is a 4.5% ABV Blonde Ale brewed with summer Saaz hops; they provide a fruity bitterness perfect for the summer to come.

Cheers! Again, well done Cavalier. Congratulations for this courageous effort.

PS: I was privileged to be invited to the launch of the beer at Virginia Plain in Melbourne’s Flinders Lane.

27 October
0Comments

Brand building versus brewing

Not sure I like hearing ‘brewery’ and ‘brand building’ in the same sentence. There’s a clash.

But that’s what happens when beers, and their brands, go corporate. Brands become company assets and brand building is a tune played for shareholders and investors.

Don’t get me wrong. My concern is about letting that tune (the C-suite?) get too loud in consumers’ ears.

I know how critical and strategic the brand development process is, or rather must be, for beer brands to succeed. I am in awe of it and those who do it well.

But …

While I know that consumers buy brands, I’m not sure how engaged they are, or want to be, in branding per se: in the science and conceptual landscape that is ‘brand’.

When brewers call themselves ‘brand builders’ I can’t help but think beer lovers put their fingers in their ears and yodel “la la la la”.

The trick is to keep the audiences separate: consumers and their beers on the one hand and investors and their brand building on the other.

Easier said than done.

Heritage & Tradition
Does the process of building a brand mean that a beer should lose its heritage and tradition?

I raise this query after reviewing the website for Australia’s biggest ‘beer brand producer’, LION. It’s now a food and beverage corporation, and tell a good F&B story.

However I’m not sure after viewing their website I’d warmly call LION ‘Australia’s biggest brewer’ – as it is.

LION’s website states: “We are a brand building company, focused on growing our strongest brands and markets. We recognise the importance of clearly differentiating and developing our brands, to excite and engage our consumers and grow returns for our customers.”

The lyrics of beer & brewing 
To my ear LION’s tune is missing the lyrics of beer and brewing, the bricks and mortar stuff, you know, where the beer comes from. Warm and fuzzy – well probably ‘cold and fizzy’.

Yes I know it’s a corporate site. Maybe they need to sing those words elsewhere. Maybe as my colleague Michel Hogan (who knows more about brands than most) suggests LION provide an online space for those who love beer in preference to brands.

To be fair LION has an Our History timeline noting the business is: “Formed by the amalgamation of some of Australia and New Zealand’s most celebrated food and beverage companies, Lion has a rich local heritage.”

But somehow ‘rich local heritage’ are not the words I’m hearing. Rather: I hear the bass beat of ‘brand building’ loud and clear.

I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to also drink the heritage and tradition that goes along with my beer of choice. I like the reality and the geography that goes with ‘my’ Castlemaine Perkins Limited, or my Swan, West End, Tooheys and CUB. Just as I like it with my Cavalier and Mountain Goat.

I believe beer drinkers love that stuff and want to hear it in preference to brand building aggrandisement.

Consumers or shareholders: website as shopfront
It’s an almost impossible job confining corporate language to the Boardroom and C-suite. But nowadays your website is your shop-front.

Choices are made to put that corporate language out there – front and centre.

Maybe LION’s website needs a separate ‘tradesman’s entrance’ for investors and equity houses as many other corporate websites have.

Speaking of appealing to investors to the exclusion of consumers: one hopes LION learned from its infamous corporate shift to Bond Brewing.

Just as it would appear CUB has learned from its brief use of the ugly tagline ‘Building Great Australian Brands’ and – more ugly – changing its name to Carlton & United Beverages.

And ..really? When was the last time you heard anyone say they ‘consumed beverages’?

Cheers!

08 September
2Comments

CSR: Cavalier social responsibility

Victorian Cavalier Brewing company deserves a quiet pat on the back.

They have demonstrated that you don’t have to be big in brewing or sponsorship to make serious socially responsible efforts that make a difference.

Cavalier has just launched an initiative to help raise research funds for, and awareness of, motor neurone disease (MND).

Central to this effort was an approach by Dr Ian Davis, who has MND and loves his beer, for a fundraising brew. Cavalier readily agreed to the special brew and have, appropriately, called it Courage Ale.

The beer will be launched in early 2013 raising funds for MND and me and Zo-ee: two Australian organisations active in the MND cause.

Dr Ian Davis

Cavalier’s Courage Ale has already attracted serious attention from media including several 3AW interviews with Justin Smith and profiles in Melbourne’s Sunday Age and Herald Sun newspapers.

Apart from being a worthy thing to do – and I know this was not the objective – from a PR/reputation-building perspective Cavalier has shown that genuine humanity and compassion can go a long way in building reputation. This ain’t no typical ‘corporate’ cheque handover/grip ‘n grin; they are clearly and passionately involved.

And doesn’t that empathy shine through?

CSR usually means ‘corporate social responsibility’ but I’d like to think this case of ‘Cavalier social responsibility’ will catch on.

Cheers!

PS click here to find out how you can help MNDandme and Zo-ee.

22 July
0Comments

Brooklyn’s finest: bottle the moment

A few years ago I spent a few weeks in New York: my first trip. Expecting a market awash in Bud and Miller I was surprised at the strong presence of Brooklyn Brewery beers in Manhattan where we were staying. Pleasantly surprised because the beers were so good.

Their quality was underlined during Melbourne’s Good Beer Week when Brooklyn Brewery events were sell outs. Dammit! [note to self: get GBW tickets earlier next year.]

Brooklyn brews were, then for me in NY, a wake-up call as to how healthy the craft brewing scene was in the States. [For an insight to where the craft beer market stands now in the USA, see a great review in Aleheads blog. I’ll return to this in a future post.]

And I was in heaven when it was on tap at Dizzy’s Jazz Club in Columbus Circle: sun setting over Central Park; jazz; and great beer.

Bottle this moment …..

Heavenly moment at Dizzy’s: overlooking Central Park; cool jazz; and Brooklyn beer.

Read more…

15 July
0Comments

Local and fresh: welcome back!

Fresh cloudy beer with a green swirl of fresh hop particles. Crikey! Just the thought would once see beer drinkers avoid a pub like the plague.

Fresh Alpha Pale Ale with a swirl of green hops to prove it!

A bit heady I know – but this glass underlines a shift in Australia’s beer market. Some call it a revolt. Where once the nearest brewery was only the big one in the state capital, now we have smaller breweries: local breweries. In Melbourne, for example, we now have many new, interesting and tasty brews from city-based craft breweries: Cavalier and Thunder Road Brewing to name just two standouts.

Local and fresh: words that beer drinkers are reacquainting themselves with.

I dropped in to Matilda Bay’s new Port Melbourne brewery yesterday with a fellow beer fancier. Within walking distance of home: it’s local and, as you can see, fresh. (And ‘yes’ I know it’s owned by CUB.) The treat of the visit was a glass of Matilda Bay’s Alpha Pale Ale straight from the fermenter. It was cloudy; floral; a bit raw; and delicious. To underline this there was a green swirl of fresh hop particles at the bottom of the glass as the top pic tries to show.

Fresh from the Bay.

There were three taps offering Matilda Bay brews straight from the fermenter: Alpha Pale; Double Stout and The Black Thong. We sampled them all. What a treat. Our fave was the Alpha. Read more…