Monday, September 9, 2019

Corporate hard seltzer strives to be cool: An actual press release

More than 90% of my e-mail is press releases. I get more than 10,000 per year. But I don't remember ever seeing the word "f***ing" (sic) in one until this gem that I received over the weekend.

It's hard for me to believe the iGeneration are such tremendous suckers that they won't see through this. That said, this release was sent by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the World's Largest Beverage Company, a company so enormous that it makes E. & J. Gallo Winery seem like a small family scratching out a living. Belgium-based multinational conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev didn't sell $54.6 billion worth of mostly flavorless beer last year by being bad at marketing.

The release worked on this level: I'm putting it nearly verbatim, on my blog, for free, which has to be a win for the people who wrote it. All I'm going to do is substitute Anheuser-Busch InBev, the company name, for the brand name of the product. The release also uses a cute nickname for the brand name so I'm going to try to replicate that. Anything I change is (in parentheses); the rest is verbatim. Enjoy, and let me know if this makes you thirsty for something sweet and corporate.

(Press release starts here, including the photo:)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Swiss wine overview: the triumph of the house palate

Vineyards in Aigle in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Can you find the lizard?
Switzerland drinks a lot of wine -- fifth in the world per capita, behind Luxembourg, France, Italy and Portugal. And Switzerland produces only a third of what it consumes. Nonetheless until 20 years ago its market was heavily protected against imports, and it still has tariffs on EU wines because it's not a member of the EU.

This is a recipe for creating a house palate -- a group of wineries and winemakers that think what they're making is great, regardless of what outsiders think.

A house palate is possible anywhere. On one single day in Napa Valley I met three different winery owners who told me they had been to Bordeaux but the wines there aren't any good because they are thin and not powerful enough. But it's more likely to happen in countries where winemakers don't travel: Argentina a decade ago. South Africa shortly after apartheid. Bulgaria and Romania.

So what's Switzerland's excuse? Honestly, I'm not sure. It's a wealthy country and you can hop on a train and be in France, Italy or Germany in a few hours. Swiss consumers surely must appreciate their neighboring countries' wines. But the winemakers ...