Shouting lager, lager, lager, lager…

There was an article in Sunday’s Observer, I say article, it was more of an infomercial for Tesco than an actual article. Titled “After real ale, brewers cash in on trend for ‘real lagers’“, it caused rather a lot of brewers, beer geeks and other assorted twitterers to spit their cornflakes out in disgust. According to the article, the lager industry is mounting a fight back against real ale and imported US craft brews are leading the charge.

Evidently Tesco is to launch four of the most popular; Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (SNPA), Goose Island IPA and Brooklyn Lager. Blue Moon is of course brewed by Coors that well know small brewer and is a wheat beer, so not a lager. Goose Island are now owned by the behemoth that is AB InBev and again an IPA is not a lager. Similarly SNPA is not a lager and has been stocked by Tesco for a while now, so hardly being launched. Even Brooklyn Lager wouldn’t be classed as a lager by the majority of UK lager drinkers, it’s brown for a start.

It’s like the person who wrote the article just copied down what they’d been sent by Tesco and didn’t bother checking any facts. Then there’s the quote from Iain Loe of CAMRA, I really hope that isn’t what he said, as it makes no sense to me. Even if he was talking about US craft beer, it still makes no sense as the British brewing scene of older years didn’t brew anything like the Americans are brewing at the moment.

If the Observer article wasn’t bad enough, Robert Marshall then tweeted the following just before lunch time:!/RobGMarshall/status/105230405380214784

So not only is SNPA being called a lager again (the clue is in the name Pale ALE), but Innis and Gunn Rum Cask is now a lager too! I’d love to know which hops impart a smooth creamy taste, while that’s what you might get from the diacetyl bomb that is any Innis and Gunn beer, SNPA certainly isn’t smooth and creamy. I had a look in one of my local Tesco stores for the offending sign, I’d taken a marker pen to correct it, but they didn’t have one on display.

It seems to me that someone at Tesco who, on this evidence, doesn’t know anything about beer, has cobbled together a press release to advertise the fact that they’re now stocking some US beer. At the same time, they’ve produced some point of sale signage that hasn’t been checked by anyone with a clue. Then the Observer has rephrased the press release and again, not had it checked by anyone who knows anything about beer. Depressing beyond words.

We keep getting told that one of the barriers that stops people from getting into beer, is the lack of good clear information. Point of sale signage and articles like this, that are so technically wrong are not going to help matters.

2 Replies to “Shouting lager, lager, lager, lager…”

  1. These kind of articles, which are sadly becoming more and more prevalent in even the ‘quality’ papers, are the worst kind of churnalism. As you said, just undigested press releases with no effort put into checking facts or delving further into the story. My favourite recent one in the Independent talked about the health benefits of pomegranate juice. The quoted source? A company that produces,…yes, pomegranate juice.

    However, what annoyed me even more than the original article were the majority of the comments. Some of those displayed an equal level of ignorance (e.g. regurgitating tired cliches about the blandness of U.S. beer).

    And as for that sign at Tesco…

    1. By the sounds of it, this copying of press releases is how it’s done these days. I watched Star Suckers last night, which covered the whole fame PR thing, most articles about famous people are copied verbatim from press releases by the famous persons PR agency. You really can’t believe anything you read in the press…

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