By now, I’m sure most of you have cringed when you’ve seen the commercials for Bud Light Golden Wheat. They’ve got to be kidding, right? Nope, this is no joke. This Saturday night on NBC, you will see just how real it is when, for the first time in Saturday Night Live’s 35-season history, a single advertiser (Budweiser) will present the show.
As I understand it, the advertising will lean heavily towards promoting Budweiser’s newest brand – Bud Light Golden Wheat. Will people run out to buy Anheuser Busch products or will they turn the channel? I mean, really, SNL is not that good these days. Marketing minds are dying to know how this will work. Television advertising presents a bit of a conundrum these days as people’s viewing habits have changed with the introduction of DVRs and “on demand” programming.
As for the introduction of Bud Light Golden Wheat, the thought makes me vomit in my mouth just a little bit. At first blush, they seem to be mocking the collective intelligence of beer drinkers.
But seriously, I think that maybe the craft beer industry should consider this a good sign — an acknowledgment that craft beer’s popularity continues to grow. In my humble opinion, this is just another futile attempt by A-B to nudge their way into the craft beer aisle.
I took one for the team last night. Yep, I stopped by the Chevron Extra Mile and picked up a six pack of Bud Light Golden Wheat. I am nothing if not thorough. The bottle says that it is flavored with a hint of “coriander and citrus peel.” That’s code for, “It tastes exactly like Blue Moon.”
Poured into a glass, it is not cloudy, though you can tell that’s the look they were going for. It’s hazy. Bud Light Golden Wheat has an unnatural orange hue. It is not transparent the way you expect a Bud Light to be. The coriander is unmistakable: the citrus peel is undefinable. You get the impression that the A-B beer technicians invented a chemical compound and named it citrus peel. I have to be honest here, the beer is not horrible. I won’t ever buy it again, but it is not putrid. As I said, it tastes suspiciously similar to Blue Moon.
Why A-B makes these attempts to capture craft beer drinkers is a mystery wrapped up in a riddle. They continue to ignore the reality that there are two distinct types of beer drinkers–craft beer drinkers and light beer drinkers. We steal beer drinkers from them. They do not steal beer drinkers from us. It’s a one way bridge. Once you cross it, you don’t go back. At least not willingly.
I really can’t believe they are going to convert anyone with the introduction of Bud Light Golden Wheat. If I feel like drinking a wheat beer, I’m not going to stand glassy-eyed in the beer aisle pondering whether I should buy a couple of 22 oz Snoqualmie Haystack Hefes or a six pack of Bud Light Golden Wheat. You’ve got to be kidding. Conversely, if my friend Randy Bitterman (note the irony in his name) feels like drinking a Bud Light, he’s not going to go anywhere near something that says “wheat” on the label.
Having conducted my own non-scientific studies, I have concluded that people who like Bud Light are people who like beer to taste as much like nothing as possible. They concede that it must taste like something otherwise it will fail to get them buzzed; however, the closer Anheuser Busch can get to making Bud Light taste like nothing at all, the happier they will be.
My conclusion is that some people like beer (me, for example) and some people like to drink beer (tailgaters, frat boys, beer pong champions, etc). For people who do not like beer but like to drink beer, Bud Light is the answer. They do not want to do beer bongs of Boundary Bay Imperial IPA. Unless Bud Light Golden Wheat is cheaper, they won’t convert in that direction either.
One thing I do really appreciate about the introduction of this new brand is that it gives me something to add to my litany. “Bartender, I would like to order a Golden Wheat Ultra Dry Ice Draft, preferably one that has been fire brewed, cold fermented and beechwood aged.”