“Drink America Great Again!”
Here at Drink American, we've been asking you to eschew big brew ever since Anheuser-Busch was sold to Belgian brewer InBev in a deal that set the stage to create the world's largest brewery. Now, Anheuser-Busch is asking you to drink America.
According to the press release they are replacing the word “Budweiser” with “America” on the front of the late 2015 label revision of their 12-ounce cans and bottles and modifying it to “add copy that is central to American history.” This includes phrases from the Pledge of Allegiance, lyrics from “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” They even threw in “Land of the Free,” “Liberty & Justice For All,” and “E Pluribus Unum” in case you missed any of the other patriotic platitudes we all love.
This is called the “America is in Your Hands” campaign.
Interestingly, in 2008 after being boisterous about their American heritage and history prior to a takeover offer, the Anheuser-Busch board of directors did not seem to care that the livelihood of American brewers and workers that were actually in their hands and would be laid off; nor did they seem to care that this iconic American company would be owned by foreign interests.
Since that time, I have had countless discussions at parties, bars and barbecues over the “America-ness” of Budweiser beer. I think the overall opinion is typically “that sucks,” then they suck down another Bud. It's easy to make a dent in a Budweiser can, but hard to make a dent in a beer drinker's drinking routine.
Every year, the Belgian-owned Budweiser paints it's cans redder, whiter and bluer to be patriotic during our crazy, lazy lawnmower beer days of summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This year, they are keeping the “America” cans and bottles on the shelves through the November presidential elections… and it's politically clear why.
This year they are trying to make Budweiser great again.
Are they unsubtly aligning themselves with America the beautiful, American currency and–drumpf roll please–Donald Trump! With the success of the Bud Light Party–a political campaign-based ad campaign, why not set up a subconscious connection between Budweiser and Trump? Maybe they are thinking that much like the Teflon Don, anything dumb they say or do will slide off them and be forgotten by you. And they both will continue to make money whether you like them or not.
The true point I'm trying to make–I suppose–is that you can just print “America” on your beer after you screwed loyal American workers (and drinkers) by selling out. Anheuser-Busch had a long haul as an American icon, but that time has come and gone. They are now part of a huuge international corporation that is simply printing America on their beer can. It may be patriotic, but it's also pathetic.
This is a tough one. I want to hold America in my hand and recite the Star Spangled Banner aloud… reading the label about the ramparts we watched, but not when it's in the marketing campaign of an expat beer.
There is a subset of us that are going out of our way to find interesting, new, local, independent craft beers and enjoy them more (heck, I even started brewing at home!). Before picking up a six-pack, think twice about the fact that AB InBev of Belgium is capitalizing on the patriotic American themes that bind us together.