I want to preface this post by saying that I am a normal, rational human being and don’t buy into any conspiracy theories/cryptozoological phenomenon except: Sasquatch, chemtrails, Area 51, Elvis still being alive, the British Royal family being lizard people from space, aliens building the pyramids, the lost city of Atlantis, HAARP, and New Coke.
I definitely didn’t consider the X-Files a very well done, long-running documentary series, so don’t ask (because they’re listening).
::repositions tinfoil hat::
Like any good conspiracy theorist, I’m not going to let finicky facts or dubious data get in the way of what I believe. I’m just gonna go with what my gut (and the chip implanted in my skull) is telling me on this one:
Big Beer (read MillerCoors and ABInBev) is intentionally brewing bad beer to trick macro drinkers into staying loyal to their mainstay beers.
Not following? The proof is right in front of us, we just have to open our eyes to the truth.
Take the new Miller Fortune, for example. The Miller marketing masterminds are throwing every craft-like thing they can at this beer, from its description including “hints of bourbon” (which may or may not be trying to reference the run of bourbon aged craft beers we’ve seen of late), trying to serve it in special glassware, and this direct quote from the press release that suggests this beer will transcend normal drinking somehow:
“With that in mind, we developed Miller Fortune to provide consumers with a unique and deliciously balanced option to elevate their drinking experience.”
They want Joe-Adjunct-Lager to think this is a craft beer. Or at the very least, representative of craft beer. They want every average Miller Lite jockey to pick this up and assume they’re in on the “craft beer scene” by drinking this beer. That’s a key step to this whole, sneaky process.
There’s one fatal flaw that contradicts all of the sleek promotional gimmicks: it tastes like Jersey Devil urine. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. It tastes more like hummus that rolled out of a grocery bag in the trunk of someone’s Toyota Prius only to be discovered, fuzzing with green life, some indeterminable amount of time later. No, no, too extreme. But it does have a certain, familiar, wretch-inducing aroma. A taste like a wisp of memory on my tongue, of a time spent blurred, on a college campus but not part of this reality, with large glass bottles taped to my hands.
Ah, yes. Malt liquor. That’s the taste I was looking for.
You could do a blind taste test, and I’d put $1000 dollars on no one, not even the most refined Colt 45 connoisseur, being able to pick out Miller Fortune in a line up with Olde English 800, Hurricane High Gravity, and (my personal favorite) King Cobra. I should also note that MillerCoors owns the Olde English 800 brand, and it may have crossed my mind that all they did was pour some of that into different bottles, garnish it with a fancy ad campaign, and hope no one noticed. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
Even if it is just re-branded 40oz gold, it still doesn’t taste good. I guess the 6.9% ABV is supposed to offset this by sheer factors of drunkification, but if this is supposed to be some new flavor territory just waiting to be charted by adventurous, treasure seeking, beer archaeologists, it fails. This is like Indiana Jones and the Walmart Crusade. A bad idea that should have never left the brainstorming session, horribly executed to the tune of several million dollars.
It’s a bad beer. I think it was brewed that way deliberately. But why? Because craft (or whatever we want to call “good” beer these days) is winning. Slowly chipping away at the market share, slowly stealing Friday-night happy hours and paychecks from the maws of the adjuncted overlords.
And I think they are panicking. Their stranglehold is weakening; the more they tighten their beery grip, the more drinkers slip through their fingers. So they get desperate, and do stuff like this. They get a non-craft drinker to try something new – hey, it’s from their good old friend Miller, after all – with the (secret?) hopes that they’ll hate it.
And when they hate it, what does the drinker do? They form opinions about all craft beer. They tried the “craft beer thing” having downed a few bottles of Miller Fortune. All that “complex flavor” and “bourbon aging” isn’t for them. They don’t need a fancy glass; they still prefer to drink straight from the can or bottle.
Then they go out, buy another 30-rack of Miller Lite, and Miller wins.
Or so Miller hopes.
::puts on anti-radiation suit::
I have to go get the mail.
You crazy conspiracy theory guy, you! But wait! Substitute “indie books” for “craft beer” and “Big Publishing” for “Big Beer,” and you might have an article about the publishing world . . . coincidence?
Whoa. Mind = blown.
I was thinking of trying this (knowing full well what I was getting myself into) but now I don’t know. I mean, I have no issues with the Jersey Devil, but I don’t like Priuses very much (unless they are on Top Gear where it is pronounce PrEYEis. That makes me smile).
The thing that gets me about this one is the commercial, “no it isn’t distilled”. What? Who the hell thought it was?
This (and the horrible AB Black Crown fiasco) continues to make me angry. Not because they’re trying to sell people something that it’s not (a lot of people would be in jail if that was a crime), but hey, HELLO! If you want to tap into the craft market, how about (and mind you, I’m just typing out loud here) MAKE A DECENT BEER.
You know they could do it. I know they could do it. They probably only need to tie up 3 or 4 fermentors at one of their plants and declare them a no rice/no corn zone.
But no. We’d rather put out something with all the nuances of Steel Reserve 211 and hope our customers are dumb enough to think it’s putting them on a bar stool next to the guy drinking Bell’s Two Hearted.
I say that EXACT same thing to my wife, every time this comes up. Remember Budweiser American Ale? It was ahead of its time, but a move in the right direction. I seriously don’t know why they aren’t even trying. Not like they have to stop making their flagship stuff entirely.
Just take all the money you spend on marketing bullshit and buy good ingredients. Boom. Done. Easy peasy.
Thus why it’s clearly a conspiracy and Bigfoot is secretly the CEO of MillerCoors.
I’ve heard others compare this to malt liquor as well, with hints of cat piss, turpentine and $2 wine. You really do have to wonder who the target demographic for this kinds of swill might be.
People who looooove marketing gimmicks.
*steps back away from the heavy roof* I am with you on the beer conspiracy *looks skyward for the Black Hawks* I think the big beer consortium will always have its way with the public. They will, cause the public is the public, willing to believe anything so as not to change. *holding magic crystal to ear* I think I have said enough except great post.
Careful with that magical crystal; I’ve heard the NSA has been bugging those as of late.
Thanks for reading 🙂
i am intrigued by your latest conspiracy theory and don’t discount it at all, as i understand the world of marketing and all of its crazy approaches to pushing a product. very much on par with a political campaign. great post, great point made, oliver. b
Thanks, Beth 🙂
I’ll let you know if I’m suddenly squelched by Big Beer, so you guys can get the word out for me!
Billy Dee Williams could tell the difference.
It works every time.
hey, I’ll go with it.
You read it here first.
I know beer, and I rate it 6 or 7 out of ten. NOTHING will surpass the PABST Andecker of the early seventies which was the best beer made of its kind, giving it., to me, an 11 out of ten. Fortune has been unfairly maligned by you, sir.
How wonderful that someone remembers how great Andecker was!!!!!! Great response on every point!
Fortune is a malt liquor, and has surprising overtones of bourbon, wood, and vanilla. Except for the higher alcohol content -a sad trend when we should be learning from history to drink small beer frequently, as beer is about drinking, not becoming drunk- it is reminiscent of AB’s Christmas special, whatever it called. Not bad, not great, yes a 6/10. To rate it any lower, with all due respect, is sheer beer snobbery. I’ve roasted craft beers of high gravity which tasted about the same, viz. a little too much of alcohol.
I have drank beer in 30 or more countries in the last 30 years. After my first taste of German beer in Dortmund, Germany, I swore off all American beer forever. Country by country from Denmark to Spain, from the United Kingdom to Australia, from Mexico to Canada and all the countries in between in all of those pairs, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan and others, others, others, I cannot recall a beer from United States breweries or crafters that was better than the beers I have drank in these other countries.
And with considerable reluctance toward someone professing to be my friend who proffered Miller Fortune today, I discarded my fixed ideas and biases and accepted a cold bottle of the new brew from Miller. At my first sip I calmly concluded this was a superior American beer, At my completion of that first bottle, I decided that Miller Fortune was America’s first world class beer. And I shall enjoy it along with other world class beers from around the world well into the foreseeable future, as it has successfully added one more country to my list of brewers of the world’s best beers!
I actually like Miller Fortune. I drink a lot of “good” Beer as well, although I can’t bring myself to IPA. I tried a few and I don’t care for the overpowering hoppiness. Just like my cooking, I prefer things in balance and I find a lot of IPA’s way off. I find this similar to what happened with wine a few years ago. Parker gave a bunch of very heavy wines high scores and next thing you know most American wineries are pushing out hardcore, heavy reds. This is actually good for wine, though, because heavy tannins lend to ageability (I know, not a real word). Maybe I should age some IPA’s and see what happens. Back to my original point. Miller Fortune is by no means going to stand up to a high quality Belgian ale or one of the great lagers, but i find it drinkable and enjoyable.
What a great p-nut beer. Although it has a malty taste a little more than I prefer it does have a bourbon taste I find delightful to my own taste.
I bought a six’r, it was on sale for $4. I was looking for a cheap buzz, the 6.9% sealed the deal. I had prepared myself to hate it, I was wrong. It’s actually quite nice, not award winning — but not the conspiracy imagined here.
Great article though. I wish I could write as well as the author of this piece, he’s quite good at his job.
Yea, $4 for six is a price that’s hard to argue against. I really didn’t like it, but everyone’s tastes are different.
Thanks so much for the compliment (and for reading)!
I just bought it for $10.99 a case (24 bottles ), great beer for THAT price.
Haha, I’d agree there. That’s basically paying you to take it at that price!
Miller already has a craft beer, Blue Moon. So it doesn’t make sense to me why they would make fortune as a craft-like beer. I feel Fortune was made directly to fight the ever growing spirits market. And the poor taste just goes to show beer is beer and shouldn’t compete with spirits.
I (and a lot of other people) would argue that BlueMoon isn’t a craft beer, and besides, they’ve spent a lot of time and money making sure people THINK it’s craft by never writing “Miller” on the marketing materials.
That said, I do think this was an attempt to pull some whiskey fans into beer, but it failed horribly.