Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Of Water, Beer and Watery Beer

In my never-ending search for news about beer, I stumbled upon this.
The King of Beers is being accused of "watering down" its product.  I confess that I chuckled at the headline, but I regained my composure long enough to do some thinking.

I have always maintained that beer is not a snobby drink. Sam Adams chief Jim Koch's motto is "All beer is good; some beer is better." And "Drink what you like" has always been The PubScout's motto.

Those effete beer snobs who look down their noses at Bud and Bud Light drinkers are no different than the snickering wine snobs who criticize me as a ruby rube for enjoying "Three-Buck Chuck" Cabernet Sauvignon with my Pasta, Chicken Parm, Meat Lasagne and Nush-Kum-Smush. I know what I'm getting at Trader Joe's and I'm satisfied with it.

But I'd like to think I'd also know when it's being cut with water, in which case I'd have to switch to Gallo, Carlo Rossi or boxed reds.

My questions about this possible deception are very simple. First, why didn't Bud drinkers detect the change?

The report says the doctored beers included "Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Bud Light Lime, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, regular old Budweiser, and even the new brew, Black Crown."

Lots of folks enjoy those products, and no one noticed a decline in flavor and alcohol? How come?

Worse, according to the article, it was not Bud devotees who detected this "thinning" of the products, but brewery workers themselves who dropped  a dime on the Company. Is it because those Bud drinkers were so used to the watery, flavorless fizz that projects itself as The King of Beers that the addition of more (mere) water escaped their tastebuds? 

The article also shares this interesting tidbit: 
In San Francisco, lead attorney Josh Boxer, said, “Consumers are paying good money for beer that they think has a certain quality and characteristic that it doesn’t have.”

Second question: What quality/characteristic is that? There's a reason (though I will not explain it here) that craft beer folks have referred to BudMillerCoors as "canoe beers." To this palate, their watery tastelessness has always been their hallmark. But apparently, those qualities satisfy enough people to make Bud the third best-selling beer in the country, according to the article. It is interesting to note as well that the article claims Bud is losing market share to "the rise of richer, tastier, higher-alcohol craft beers." 

Final question: When (or if) they do water it down, are they using Evian, Poland Spring or tap water?  

You guess.

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