Beerly Writing – Bears that Hug and Fisking the Anti-Beer Bias

From the Malthouse blog, the latest post which, for a change, talks entirely about a brewery and its beer. This time, it covers Steve “Huggy Bear” Nally at Invercargill Brewery. It is called “The Adventures of Huggy Bear“:

There have been small, poorly-designed classified advertisements in The Listener magazine for as long as I can remember. There were always rumours that people actually ordered those odd products, herbal remedies and dodgy holiday packages but there was never any solid evidence. For most of my lifetime, real-life purchasers from The Listener classifieds were a myth, they were as real as card-carrying members of the Social Credit Party or people who found David Spade funny. Then I met one.

Following up from Greig’s earlier post on anti-beer bias in the media, my favourite beer writer Pete Brown does a complete demolition job on the offending article in the Independent. His post is called “National newspaper in anti-beer bias shocker“:

In the main paper, 24 pages after the “extreme beer” feature, there’s an article entitled ‘War of the rosés’, about a scheme to make French rosé wine more popular. Here is a direct quote from that piece: “If we are forced to put the word ‘traditional’ on our bottles, people will think, especially young people, that it is a fuddy-duddy wine, an old-fashioned kind of drink. That will ruin everything we have achieved.” That’s from a winemaker. And here’s the journalist himself: “Young people, especially, have taken to rosé as a fun drink, which is refreshing, uncomplicated and relatively cheap. (Anjou rosé sells in the UK at between £5 and £8 a bottle. Other French rosés sell for as little as £3 a bottle.)” Despite the clear admission that rosé winemakers are targeting younger people, despite the fact that rosé wine is being sold cheap and marketed in a contemporary fashion in order to lure these drinkers, there is no worried quote from Alcohol Concern. No sensationalist headline. No mention of the ABV of rosé wines. The attractive illustration of three glasses of rose – unlike your illustration of extreme beers – carries no bold starbursts. The inference is clear: when winemakers admit that they are selling cheap wine (12-14% ABV) and actively targeting young people with 750ml bottles for as little as £3, that’s OK. But when a brewer creates a beer (6-12% ABV) and sells it in a 33cl bottle that retails from £4 upwards, and tells you it is emphatically NOT targeting young drinkers, you run the piece with a ‘health fears’ headline and a subhead that claims the beers are, in fact, targeting younger drinkers – despite the fact that this is a lower ABV drink, being sold at a higher price.

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