How the proof is in the draught beer

Brand beer / Photo by Steven Zwerink
Brand beer / Photo by Steven Zwerink
Last week, I went to a bar with my friend Steven Zwerink and a mutual friend. Steven and I were drinking Vedett, our friend was drinking the bar’s draught beer. He was served a large glass of Brand beer, a Dutch pilsener. At some point he stopped in the middle of the conversation and told us he was really really sure he wasn’t drinking Brand beer.

“That is correct”, replied the bar lady when we asked her, “that is a Heineken beer. Most of our clients just don’t like the Heineken glasses and prefer the Brand beer glass, so we serve our normal Heineken draught beer in Brand glasses. Brand beer is a part of the Heineken beer company, so it really doesn’t make a difference.” This must hurt for every Heineken marketeer, but it actually made sense to me. I don’t like Heineken’s over-marketed Galaxy glass either and like the simple basic Brand glass.

However, our friend was not convinced yet. He had been drinking beers most of his adult life (and some years before) and was really really really sure this wasn’t Heineken. So he asked the bar lady again and she offered him to see the beer installation, which was situated under the wooden floor of the bar. “Absolutely“, he replied and he went with her to see the beer installation which was … a Heineken beer installation.

Our friend, by the way, is a Heineken employee for over 5 years.

When Steven and I excused ourselves later for the stubbornness of our friend, the bar lady replied “I really don’t mind, I have guys asking to see the beer installation every week.”

My two lessons:

  • Our tasting skills usually suck big time.
  • You can market whatever you like, the proof is in the draught beer. If consumers like an other beer glass better, they WILL use the other beer glass.
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