Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beer in the news; Free brew may not fly in Illinois

From the Pantagraph

Free brew may not fly in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD -- A national promotion aimed at luring beer drinkers back to Anheuser-Busch's flagship brand may fall flat in Illinois.

The company is set to offer free Budweiser samples to customers of bars and restaurants on Wednesday as part of a "national happy hour" campaign.

You may have seen a commercial for it. You might not have, it's not played much around here, since we are in Illinois. If you don't know what I'm talking about...

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 29, Budweiser is giving away beer. Free Beer (sadly it's Budweiser). Well, in most states, Budweiser is giving away free beer.

Their new slogan is "Grab some BUDS". (Don't click the facebook get started thing, it'll ask to do all kinds of things... like: Access my basic information; Manage my events; access my profile information; access my friends' information.)

I'm kind of interested in clicking it, to see what it's going to do. It's making an event. Fuck this.

I'm not sure if any local bars are going to be in on the promotion. It's supposed to start tomorrow at 5 pm. Look for signs on local bars. Then, look for them to be busted.

"We have some serious problems with A-B's promotion," said Sue Hofer, spokeswoman for the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

A company spokesman acknowledged that state laws could play a role in how the giveaway unfolds.

"Sampling and promotional activity varies market-by-market according to state alcohol beverage laws," noted Michael Lourie, A-B's director of corporate communications.

Rick Haymaker, general counsel for the liquor control panel, says not only is giving away free booze prohibited under Illinois' regulations, but advertising alcohol giveaways is barred too.


There is a provision in Illinois law allowing companies to give away a total of three free samples, but each of those must be limited to 2 ounces each.

But what if the bars combined those samples to make one, 6-ounce freebie?

So, be good citizens. If you see any bars giving away more than 2 ounces of free beer, call the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. Springfield (rest of state) Ph: 217-782-2136 or in Chicago, Ph: 312-814-2206. Or go to their website. http://www.state.il.us/lcc/fraudlcc.asp

The problem is, you will be hurting the bar, more than you will be hurting either the distributor or Budweiser itself.

Ok, so what's the purpose of this Happy Hour/ free Beer?

Budweiser believes that once you taste Budweiser, you will go back to being a bud drinker. Bud (not Bud Light) sales suck. The target audience of this free beer, is not the regular Budweiser drinker, it's a high life/ coors/ pbr/ other non-light beer (but still a lager) drinker. They think if you taste bud, you'll think it's not horrible, and you'll go back to that, since hey, they gave you a free beer.

Dear dumbasses at Budweiser, your target audience didn't buy Budweiser in good enough numbers when Dale Earnhardt Jr was sporting your logo; a free beer isn't going to make them change. And fuck you for dropping Brandon Bernstein.

With time ticking down on the Budweiser promotion, Illinois officials have reached out to A-B to discuss the company's plans. As of Monday, Haymaker said he had not heard a response.
Still, no response.

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