9 Mar 2010

The brand above the drink

A few days ago Pete Brown told us about the fate of Tetley's Cask,  and how its owner, Carlsberg UK, have decided they will close the brewery in Leeds and shift the production elsewhere in England.

This is nothing new, neither surprising. It's common practice among the big multinational brewing groups. Heineken CZ have been a lot on the news lately for doing just that here in the Czech Republic. In the last year they have shut down three breweries, in Znojmo, Kutná Hora and, most recently, in Louny (they had bought the last two the year before).

But this is not what I wanted to talk about today (neither about Heineken's idea of a free market). The closing of breweries, though sad, is something inevitable in this context and, to be fair, we should ask ourselves whether those breweries would have survived had they remained independent, which, unfortunately, we will never know.

What I wanted to talk about is the little respect Heineken has for language and, to a certain extent, the intelligence of the consumers.

On the pages that in their website Heineken Česká Republika dedicates to the brands of the closed breweries we can still see the following slogans:

"Dačický aneb zlatý mok ze stříbrného města" (Dačický, or the golden beverage from the silver town.) for the brand formerly brewed in Kutná Hora (this city in the middle ages was famous for its silver mines).

"Dobré pivo ze Znojemska za dobrou cenu." (Good beer for a good price from the Znojmo region.) For Hostan

"...pivo s hořkou chutí a s historií dlouhou jako je město Louny samo." (...beer with a bitter taste and a history that is as long the history of the town of Louny.). For the namesake beer.

The last one is perhaps the worst of the lot. The history of Pivovar Louny has finished and the beer is no longer brewed in the city it was named after, but in Velké or Krasné Březno (can't remember which now).

I'm pretty sure the long time drinkers of all these brands are glad to at least still be able to keep on enjoying them, even if only as in name. But still, and specially in Louny's case, this is just another, sad, example of the Brand above the Drink

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7 comments:

  1. You must have read my mind. I was going to bring this up about Tetleys, you beat me to it !. Big Brewers, do not care about local love of certain beers. Same thing happened with Wards, a Sheffield Beer. Moved its production, never tasted the same. Mainly, its because of the different water. Big Brewers, only concern Cost ! & Profit !.

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  2. Second that.
    My local brewery (Tou) was taken over by the largest brewery in Norway (Ringnes),moved production to Oslo, beer wasn't that good before, quite bad to be honest,but the consumers in my region protested againt the closing by boycotting Ringnes products.This boycot was even supported by the mayor of Stavanger. The boycott is still effective today,going on for more than 7 years.

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  3. Ahoj. Really good article on Radio Praha, about Zatac, the Home of Hops. I found it really interesting.

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  4. Ahoj. My last comment, should read Zatec. That beer I talked to you about. Brewed by Acorn Brewery. It is called Gorlovka Imperial Stout. It has won many awards. Been entered in the New England Real Ale Exhibition in Somerville, USA.

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  5. Terry,

    Indeed interesting article about Žatec. I used to there for work a few years back, and must say the centre was not very inspiring. Should give it another go, perhaps things have changed for the better after all-

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  6. Oh, yeah! And would certainly love to drink that Gorlovka

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  7. Ahoj. While in London, Tuesday, among other beers, one interesting one. Fullers Brewery, " 1845". Bottled conditioned, Fruit-cake aroma, spice & nutmeg from malt& hops, continues to forment in the bottle (100 days!). 6-3%. Been in touch with Max, Rest Jama, he says new CZ beers, doing well !. Says he will buy me beer, when next in his Rest !.

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