How Does Beer Taste In America?

How does beer taste in America? I chose to highlight five beers: Budweiser, MGD 64, Michelob Ultra, Heineken, and Corona. I will give brief descriptions of all five, with particular attention to the ethnic subcultures.  Of course I found a plethora of information on Hispanics but also found marketing targeted at Asian-Americans. 
This ad is emphasizing that the brand Budweiser is rooted in American tradition. The imagery of the wide open plains with two horses running free is symbolic of the American settlers who went westward in search of the American dream. This ad is trying to invoke feelings of nostalgia and pride.   It is targeted to Baby Boomers (people born between 1946-1964) and Trailing Boomers (people born between 1954-1965).

Michelob Ultra. Asian-Americans make up 14.1 percent of U.S. light beer drinkers. Michelob is really into sponsoring Asian-American sporting events (see attached).  While the second ad (attached) does not specifically target Asian-Americans, it invites the reader to “live life to the Ultra” which struck me as having two possible meanings.  First, it reinforces healthy living.  Secondly, by the brand aligning itself with sporting events targeted to Asian-Americans, this ad now becomes an integrated marketing piece because it completes the messaging sent to the target (in this case, Asian-Americans).  When Asian-Americans attend these sporting events, they get a message that Michelob Ultra is the beer for athletes – or at least active people.  Then they see this ad and see the message again. Also, when an ethnic subset of the American culture sees a message like “live life to the Ultra” it could have yet another meaning.  It could be interpreted that living in America is living life to the ultra, and drinking this American beer acculturates the subset.

Heinenken. Heineken USA is a fully owned subsidiary of Heineken International. Based in White Plains, New York, it offers a world-class brand portfolio including: Heineken Lager, Heineken Light, Dos Equis, Newcastle Brown Ale, Amstel Light, Tecate, and Tecate Light. (HeinekenUSA.com). The ad below was chosen because Heinken targets Hispanics and Mexican-Americans (as seen in some of its brands like Dos Equis, Tecate, and Tecate Light).  This is a smart move since beer is the preferred beverage of Hispanic-Americans. (ScienceDaily, 2008). This ad -“tu eres lo que bebes” – means, “You Are What You Drink.” The brand attributes of this ad is clearly communicating a message to Spanish-speaking people that Heineken is the brand they should be drinking. This ad is demonstrating that Heineken is something that is part of you. It is part of your lifestyle.  The ad is trying to invoke feelings of ideal self (seeing oneself as who they want to be). The ad draws the reader in and invites them not to drink this beer but rather to seek a deeper part of themselves.  The ad speaks to Generation X or Generation Y because the first enjoys high-quality beer and the latter seeks to satisfy the Id (described by Freud as the pleasure principal – whatever feels good at the time).
The brand’s attributes are pure, refreshing, relaxing, calming, and fun.  The brand takes the consumer away from the gas and the groceries and the grind.  The brand gives the consumer permission to have pleasure for pleasure’s sake.  It is like the Freud’s Ego to the SuperEgo.  It’s saying, “it’s ok, just this once, indulge. The brand’s target is the Trailing Boomer and Generation X.  It is sophisticated and is to be enjoyed by beer snobs everywhere.  This is for the work-hard, play-hard, on-the-go folks who need reminded to chill out once in a while.  "It takes me back to being on the beach, and I feel relaxed and mellow just thinking about that," says the 29-year-old Bloomberg news salesman of his favorite brew. "It's the only beer I'll drink." (Smith, Gard, and Weber, 2005).

Whether Americans are working hard, watching football, or relaxing, there is a beer for everyone.  Just as the country itself is a blend of people and culture, the same is true of our beer. There is bold, sweet, fresh, light, fruity, low-cal, high-cal - and it is all made or distributed or marketed to exactly the right person.  From hops and wheat and barley come these distinctively aromatic flavors that we associate with different places or memories or sporting events.  Yes, beer is to America what people are to America.  Partly indigenous, partly imported, the beer in America is as diverse and complex as the people who drink it.   

1 comment:

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