Friday, October 26, 2007

Innovation: I Don't Get It

So, a friend emails me a story about the new European IPA by Greene King, called St Edmunds. The story was obviously structured from a press release, talking about the cool new 'system' that would let consumer choose if their beer would be "Northern" (with head) or "Southern" (without head). OK... that's odd. So, being naturally curious, I check out the Greene King press release to learn more about this magical system that can pour a beer with head or without, depending on my mood. Ugh.

Why, oh why, do large brewers insist on cheapening the beer experience? Is it that hard to pour a beer with head, or to pour one without? Oh, wait, it gets better! Turns out their marketing the headless beer as a CASK version! From the same keg, nonetheless! Oh dear.
What we have achieved is the holy territory - an ale that’s as easy to drink as a lager, with the premium cues of Guinness and the provenance of cask.
That's Justin Adams, who has the job of Director of Brewing and Brands for Greene King. I really don't even know what Justin was saying there, but I suppose it sounds good to someone.

This is from a Press Release
Greene King, the brewery, is piloting a new premium chilled cask beer called St Edmunds to target men and women who are exploring new beers other than lager.

The new chilled beer, served below six degrees Celsius, is being rolled out across 100 selected pubs in south east England over a three month trial period from November.

Got to love that, eh? Another "chilled" beer hits the market. Want more?

Greene King managing director Justin Adams said the new product aimed to reinvigorate the declining casked ale market by creating an ale with a “gold, fresh, crisp finish” and “provide a great consumer experience by giving more theatre”.
More theater (sp), that's just what I'm looking for in a beer... right up there with a gold finish.

When will this madness end? I find it hard to believe that we, as human beings, continue to fall for the newest "innovation" in brewing, especially when the innovations have nothing to do with brewing! In fact, the best innovation I've seen in years in this industry is the Merlin kettle I saw at New Belgium! Stop creating high tech labels, pseudo cask ale and beer dispensers that promise to be the coldest in town! They're not that cool, and 99% of your innovations are junk in 18 months or less.

Please, for the love of beer, focus your creativity on the product (beer), its history and overall quality. To do anything less serves only to cheapen the beverage you claim to be all about.