Thursday, 8 September 2011

Oh Deer.

Shock, horror! It would appear that Brewdog have decided to brew yet another pointlessly high abv beer! This time, following on from the 'success' of stuffing a bottle up a squirrel's arse, this beer will be dispensed through a stag's head. Full story here.

My first reaction to this news was 'oh god, not again'. I'm sure a lot of people feel the same, following Brewdog's exploits with Sink The Bismarck and End Of History. We've all cottoned on to the fact that Brewdog feel the need to pull a publicity stunt every few months for marketing reasons, and blog posts of this ilk don't exactly starve the attention seekers up in Fraserburgh of the frenzied spotlight they evidently desire - but whatever happened to letting your beer do the talking? Sure, every business that aims to sell a range of products, be it craft beer or Harry Potter novels, needs to market themselves to a certain degree. But Brewdog seem to have embraced a marketing strategy that aims to fill us with as much bullshit as they can and hope we'll find it cool, or punk. Oh the irony. Anyone fancy some shares?

This new beer, named Ghost Deer, is a 28% blonde ale. And, apparently, according to the marketing geniuses at Brewdog, 'combines the 3 things that we are most passionate about: craft beer, art and taxidermy'.

Craft beer. Art.

And taxidermy.

...what the fuck?

I'm starting to wonder who the target demographic is for all this, because my reaction to a line like that is to swear blind that I will never, ever let the damn beer pass my lips, not even at gunpoint. I'm sure all the Brewdog fanboys are creaming their jeans, but I find it repellent. I'm not offended, outraged, or, well, insert whichever hyperbolic term here you fancy... I just think it's crap. I can almost imagine the marketing department all slapping themselves on the back and congratulating one another on how 'cutting-edge' and 'funky' they are. It's the Emperor's New Clothes of marketing - even if no one else can see through the bullshit, I bloody well can.

This could all be excused if the beer was any good, and Ghost Deer may very well be. I doubt it, with an abv so needlessly high, but whatever. I have not tasted Sink The Bismark, but I have had the 'pleasure' of End Of History, the 55% beer rammed up a ferret's arse. It's terrible. Awful. Taste in beer is subjective, you say? Well, maybe so. But one colleague of mine described his taste of End Of History as how he would imagine (or at least I hope he only imagined) it would feel to be abused by a priest. A tenuous link, perhaps, and probably a rather more unpleasant experience than a taster of End Of History... but only just.

But, do you know what the most annoying thing about all this is? When Brewdog take their fingers out of their bums, they make some absolutely fantastic beers. We craftbeerites all know this. One of my all-time favourite beers is their Paradox Smokehead. Another is Chaos Theory... which, last time I heard, they'd stopped making, or at least stopped supplying it to most of the places (and therefore customers) who would still very much like to enjoy it, thank you very much. I don't know why this is, but I wish Brewdog would spend more time concentrating on the fantastic beers they do make that really do talk for themselves, instead of pulling nonsense like brewing strong, headline-grabbing battery acid to be poured from an orifice of a stuffed animal.

Thing is, I know Brewdog, or at least James Watt, does care - I've seen it for myself. I've watched him taste several of the Kernel Breweries fantastic IPAs, making notes on each, not long before the new recipe for Punk IPA was trialled. The new, or now current, Punk IPA is excellent - a huge improvement over its predecessor, which was a bloody good beer in its own right. So, knowing this, do I feel bad about my ranting about their marketing strategy? No. I have an opinion and I call things as I see them, and if that pisses people off, well, so be it.

In a nutshell:

Brewdog's marketing and obsession with high abvs and dead animals - bullshit.

Their core range of beers, like Punk IPA, and other beers, including my favourites - awesome. Keep it up.

Now, if only I had a bottle of Paradox Smokehead to quaff once I get down off my box!

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