25 Mar 2009

Marketing bollocks or a beer culture oportunity?

Some weeks ago I found this news item (sorry, in Spanish, though you can use Google Translate to get an idea) in the electronic edition of a Colombian newspaper. It speaks about training courses for restaurants with beer as the sole topic. According to the article, attendants will learn about beer tasting and food pairings, cooking and cocktails with beer, how to sell beer, and topics such as beers of the world and brewing processes.

I found it interesting so I thought I would share it with the Facebook that seeks to promote beer culture in Colombia.

The response I got what not what I had expected. Not only there wasn't any enthusiasm for the news, but one of the forum members even said that this specializations were something useless and a waste of time.

Such reaction is greatly because one of the organisers is Bavaria, the, by far, biggest brewer in Colombia (in fact, one of the biggest in the world), now propery of SAB-Miller.

The apprehension is understandable. I've never drunk any of the beers of Bavaria, but if the products of the other Latin American leading breweries are anything to go by, I'm pretty sure that those beers are, at best, bad (at least in average).

But is it justified? I will claim that Bavaria is organising these courses with only altruism in mind. It is a marketing and PR strategy. So what?

Provided they are done professionally, aren't these courses something possitive? Could it be that they help open the minds of restaurant owners, managers, etc, which in turn could help some of them to start exploring the fascinating world of our favourite drink? Or not?

Or is it that only craft brewers or consumer groups are the only qualified enough or who have the right to offer something like this to the public?

What do you think?

2 comments:

  1. To be perfectly honest it sounds like outright snobbery on the part of the respondees. I would hope that we would have the good grace to accept that if one of the big beer producers is trying to do something to promote beer then we should support it. Of course they want more customers for their brand, but if such activities bring more people to beer in general, and then on to craft beer in particular then I think people should swallow their pride and work with it.

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  2. Actually, it is exactly what I thought. I also found the reaction a bit snobbish, and as I've said in the forum, Bavaria might not be the ideal person to give something like those courses, but at least there is someone doing it, which is better than nothing.

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