If you haven’t read this brilliant article that popped up this morning on Ad Age using psychographics to determine what your beer says about you, well.. hold on tight. This is hardcore science, ladies and gentlemen. Prepare to be blown away.

This chart shows the correlation between the number of pirates in the world and global warming.

This chart shows the correlation between the number of pirates in the world and global warming.


This marketing organization called Mindset Media “interviewed more than 2,600 people online in August and September” and created a profile that you fit in to. As internet interviews polls are incontrovertible truth, this is now a statement of your human condition and the results of this will now be used in every commercial for every sporting event you will watch for the next 6 – 8 months (or at least until a new internet interview poll has been posted or focus group has been convened).

Here’s the thing: I’m not about to say that there’s no merit to this kind of “study” but there is absolutely no merit to this kind of “study”. The results presented are the kind of thing that tends to get published by people who have very little understanding of how statistics actually work. They’re the type of statistics you see in baseball games when they’re trying to fill time.

“10 out of the last 16 meetings between these teams have included a hit batsman, so you can be sure to see some fireworks tonight!”

Nice try, but past performance is not indicative of future results and, even more importantly for this specific column, correlation does not imply causation. I might repeat this phrase again.

I hope they got paid well for this it because it is hi-larious. I’m almost tempted to cut and paste the entire article over here, but that’s bad form. Here are some “statistical” tidbits about people according to what they drink. So that I’m not dismissed (as some of the commenters on this column were) for disagreeing with the article just because I don’t like being pigeonholed (though I don’t), here’s commentary on the entire crapassery.

Budweiser
True to form, Bud drinkers are sensible, grounded and practical. They are the polar opposite of daydreamers and don’t easily get carried away. These beer drinkers also don’t like authority—can anyone say union?—and are emotionally steady people who live in the here and now. […] Budweiser drinkers are 42% more likely to drive a truck than the average person, 68% more likely to choose a credit card with flexible payment terms and 42% more likely to use breath-freshening strips every day.

“Can anyone say union?”

Is this suggesting that there’s no authority structure in a union? Can anyone say Hoffa?

Bud Light
Bud Light drinkers profile as lacking in carefulness. They are grounded like their Bud brethren, but respect authority. Bud Lighters can also have frat boy-like personalities, particularly when it comes to personal risk-taking. […] Bud Light drinkers are also 48% more likely than the average person to play the lottery every day and 34% more likely to never buy organic products.

So, if someone drinks Bud Light they are well-grounded, and carelessly respect authority by… binge drinking, if I read this right.

Have you noticed how much these read like horoscopes?

Michelob Ultra
Michelob Ultra drinkers rate high in superiority; that is, they think highly of themselves and can be a little bit conceited. They care what other people think about them and want to appear perfect. […] Michelob Ultra drinkers are 43% more likely than the average person to consider sustainability a priority, and 34% more likely to buy life insurance.

They want to appear perfect, but they’re more likely to buy life insurance. How can you tell what people want from an internet interview poll? I’ll give them the conceited part… but how do they measure this?

14. Are you conceited?
Not at all
A little bit
Quite a bit
A lot

Corona
“Where’s the party?” is probably an oft-asked question by Corona and Corona Light drinkers. They are busy and energetic people who are also extremely extroverted. […] But the life-of-the-party Corona drinkers also have an altruistic side; they care deeply about other people and see themselves as giving and warm.

Corona drinkers are 91% more likely than average to buy recycled products and 38% more likely to own three or more flat-screen TVs.

Turns out Corona and Corona Light drinkers do not differ as much as Bud and Bud Light drinkers do. Or maybe authority doesn’t come into the picture when you’re talking PAR-TAY and skunky beer.

Also: Three or more flat-screen TV’s and you’re drinking Corona!? You cheap bastards.

Heineken
There’s a slang term that could sum up Heineken drinkers: posers. These self-assured people believe they are exceptional, get low scores on modesty and high scores on self-esteem.

Ah, so they’re Michelob Ultra drinkers. Righto.

People who choose Heineken as their favorite beer are 58% more likely to have American Express cards, 45% more likely to be early adopters of new mobile phones, and 29% more likely to drive sports cars.

So are those the AmEx cards that you have to pay off all at once, or at the AmEx cards with the flexible payment schedules? Because I’m not sure I understand how these people are different from the previous “demographics.” It seems to me that they could be both Bud drinkers and Michelob Ultra drinkers. Maybe it’s the sports cars that set them apart.

The question I have is: If you’re more likely to be an early adopter of a new mobile phone, how many flat-screen TV’s (on average) do you own?

We’re starting to get into the good stuff, next:

Blue Moon
The personality traits of people who prefer Blue Moon, a Belgian style wheat beer, tracked similarly to the same type of people who prefer craft beers—which means Blue Moon drinkers probably don’t know it’s a Molson Coors Brewing Co. family product made in Colorado. […] Blue Moonies are socially liberal and usually quite willing to go against convention. They really hate moral authorities, and believe children should be exposed to moral dilemmas and allowed to come to their own conclusions. […] People who drink Blue Moon beer are 105% more likely than the average person to drive hybrid cars, 77% more likely to own Apple Mac laptops, 65% more likely to purchase five pairs or more of sneakers every year, and 32% more likely to not be registered voters.

To summarize: Blue Moon drinkers are godless socialist hippies. Thank god. I’m used to getting hit with that label because I enjoy good things. I love the suggestion here that if Blue Moon drinkers knew that their beer was made by Molson Coors that they wouldn’t drink it. That’s brilliant.

Craft Beers
These specialty made beers get lumped into one category both because there are fewer fans (and thus less statistically significant data) of them, but also because the personalities of one type fairly well describe another.

Or maybe craft beer drinkers are more likely to be savvy internet users and not take asinine internet interviews polls. There should be statistically fewer Henekin drinkers than craft beer drinkers considering that the import market isn’t that much bigger than the craft beer market and this is one beer out of the entire segment which also includes Corona and Guinness.

But, hey.. whatever. It’s your “statistics”, if you want to make market segment judgment calls without actually understanding the market, it’s all good by me. Good luck with “marketing.”

This group is more likely to spend time thinking about beer rather than work. They are more open-minded than most people, seek out interesting and varied experiences and are intellectually curious. Craft-beer drinkers also skew as having a lower sense of responsibility—they don’t stress about missed deadlines and tend to be happy-go-lucky about life.

Craft-beer lovers are 153% more likely to always buy organic, 52% more likely to be fans of the show “The Office” and 36% more likely to be the ones to choose the movie they are going to see at the theater.

Hear, hear. I am open-minded, intellectually curious, and pretty happy-go-lucky. But by god you will watch what I want to see IN THE DAMN MOVIE THEATER.

(ahem)

‘Scuse me.

Irresponsible?

17. Are you responsible?
Not at all
A little bit
Quite a bit
A lot

Finally:

Abstainers
It probably doesn’t take a psychographic profile to discover that those people who refuse to drink beer at all don’t like to loosen up very much. They are socially conservative and see many issues as black and white. Teetotalers honor tradition and authority and prefer a less-hectic social life.

People who turn down beer are 50% more likely to call themselves Republican, and are 30% more likely to never buy organic products.

This is the only one that I can’t pick apart somehow. You didn’t need to do a survey to find this out.

So, as I was saying earlier, correlation does not imply causation. The 2,600 people interviewed who took this poll may have fallen into later-defined “demographics” but these things.. these percentages? They have nothing to do with the beer that they’re drinking. There are a thousand other things that may influence these other decisions. If it appears to be unrelated to beer, chances are it’s unrelated to beer.

My point in all this? For the love of god please don’t take this kind of thing seriously, especially if you’re trying to create marketing based off of it. Give consumers a little credit, for crissakes.

After all, you’re one, too. But what do I know? I’m an irresponsible craft beer drinker, and so happy-go-lucky I could barely manage ire for this post.

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Categories: marketing, media, op-ed
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 02 Nov 2009 @ 08 16 PM

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 15 Sep 2009 @ 11:29 AM 

Have you seen this article? It got popped up on a few beer-related Twitter feeds yesterday. It’s… it’s ridiculous. I’ll give you a link, but no.. don’t click on it, we’re going to talk about this in length all right here. Don’t you dare leave. I’m re-printing this article in its entirety as it was published, with comments. (The ABC “Travel” Section)

Sexy Beer the New Viagra?

Bavarian Brewery Claims to Spice Up Sex Lives With a New Erotic Beer

By JOSIE COX
September 14, 2009

Jürgen Hopf fits the stereotype of a Bavarian beer-maker, with his traditional felt hat, rosy cheeks, and proudly protruding beer-belly. But Hopf has given Germany’s favorite drink an unlikely twist, creating libido-enhancing beer.

When I think of Bavarian beer-makers, I think of felt hats. Don’t you? Okay. Maybe. I kinda feel like they don’t wear them to brew, though.

The real reason for the call out here is that link. It points to an article named Do Drinkers Exercise More Than Their Sober Peers? which is about the Boston Hash House Harriers, “a drinking club with a running problem.” I can see why it’s linked to from “protruding beer-belly” but only just barely.

And the potion which he created almost seven years ago, has gone from strength to strength. Sales of the bottles adorned with a picture of a woman removing her top now make up more than a tenth of all the beer brewed in his village.

You started a sentence and a paragraph with “And?” It’s not even a remotely complete sentence. Can I be a paid journalist? Please?

His village, by the way? Wunsiedel, Bayern, Germany, population 10,000. Notice that it makes up more than a tenth of all the beer brewed in the village, not the beer consumed in the village.

The brewery is Lang Bräu. Here they are on Beer Advocate.

I suppose that since the brewery lists 17 beers on their website (the last paragraph of this article says they make 13), 10% of the production is fairly decent.

But his invention came about by chance, Hopf says. “I work at a brewery where all the processes are automated. One night though, the system failed and I was called up to try and fix it as I live just over the road,” he told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “It was the middle of the night and there wasn’t a soul in sight so I crossed the road wearing just my little boxer shorts and slippers.”

What happened next is something which Hopf describes as pure magic. When he entered the brewery the machine was completely broken and couldn’t be restarted. Semi-naked with no sleeves to role up, he picked up a large stick and started stirring the soupy brew by hand. “I suddenly felt strange and I knew that this beer would be different from any beer we had ever made before,” he recalls.

Excuse my french, but… Are you fucking kidding me!?

I suddenly felt strange?!

This blows my mind.

Never mind that they’re supposedly doing heat-based tasks overnight with no supervision. Never mind that even an automated brew system needs a human to, say, move hoses, or clean things, or even push a damn button now and then. How did they know that the system failed if there was nobody there? Also – when it failed to work, he “picked up a large stick” (let’s assume a mash paddle, at least) and started stirring it by hand whilst wearing nothing but boxer shorts and slippers?!

Either this guy or the person who wrote this article is a total freakin’ toolbag.

I wonder how all the people in the brewing industry who have gone through extensive skin grafting due to burns would feel about the safety procedures laid out here.

Bavarian Loin Cloth

Sure enough, two months later, the beer brewed that night back in 2002, had become somewhat of a local legend. Anyone in the village of Schönbrunn — a settlement of 1,400 in the heart of the Fichtelgebirge Mountains in Bavaria — who tried the beverage, reported a drastically increased libido. “Everyone I asked told me that they had not watched TV in the weeks,” Hopf chuckles, “instead they had went straight to the bedroom with no time to spare!”

I bet it was a local legend. “Hey, remember when the fat guy with the felt hat went over to the brewery in the middle of the night and made beer in his boxers on a broken brew system?” “Yeah, how was that even drinkable?” “No idea, but it made me HORNY!”

I.. you.. NO. No. You are NOT passing this off as a real news article.

Also! That link up there? It points to an article called Guinness Storehouse Most Visited Site in Ireland which, yes, is a local legend but not THIS local legend.

And hey.. wait! 2002? This subtitle to this article says, “Bavarian Brewery Claims to Spice Up Sex Lives With a New Erotic Beer”. Since when has 7 years old counted as new?

Hopf produced his “Erotic Beer” in ever larger batches. But each bottle is still brewed manually in the middle of the night by the 53-year-old brewmaster, who dresses in nothing but a scant, traditional Bavarian loin-cloth when making his beer.

A Bavarian loin-cloth? We must be talking about lederhosen, here. This is a loin cloth.

You know why he brews it in the middle of the night? Because everyone he works with thinks he’s a nutjob. It’s probably the best way to avoid safety and sanitation inspections, too.

Today, his brainchild has become one of the most successful products in the small village, which relies on agriculture and is home to only a few family owned businesses.

Link points to Anheuser-Busch Markets Bud Light Cans to College Students – totally related, right?

Although beer is commonly believed to lower a man’s fertility, other companies — such as the German biggest erotic store chain Beate Uhse — have also tried their hand at marketing libido-enhancing versions of Germany’s favorite drink. The “Popp-Bier,” German slang for “F*@# Beer,” with 4.8 percent alcohol content, hit the shelves in 2007 but was snubbed for its stiff price of almost €10 for a standard bottle.

Now there’s an amazing sentence, “beer is commonly believed to lower a man’s fertility.” I can find no actual science to totally corroborate this. It wouldn’t actually surprise me, but written out like that seems like a great way to start/spread some sort of urban legend and reminds me, again, of the Science News Cycle.

I have found what appears to be a follow up study (though I am not sure to what) in which the conclusion of the study is:

“A woman’s alcohol intake is associated with decreased fecundability even among women with a weekly alcohol intake corresponding to five or fewer drinks. This finding needs further corroboration, but it seems reasonable to encourage women to avoid intake of alcohol when they are trying to become pregnant.”

I’m not sure that’s quite the same message.

I would also like to point out that the link in that paragraph, from “commonly believed” goes to a video report about 2007’s hop shortage. Out of date and unrelated.

Hopf’s “Erotic Beer,” on the other hand, was an instant hit when it was unveiled at an international beer fair in Milan, Italy, in 2002. “The Italian machos were absolutely crazy about it,” recalls Hopf, whose name is almost the German translation of the English word for hops — the flower used in the production of beer.

The Italian machos were absolutely crazy about it, huh? I suppose that had nothing to do with the naked woman on the label,. (NSFW)

A Miracle Potion

Since its Milan debut, the company has branched out with its brand, selling “Erotic Beer” beer mats, T-shirts, bottle openers and beer tumblers as well as a special fridge, with the brewery’s logo and a picture of a semi-naked woman plastered across the door.

At the 2007 Oktoberfest — Munich’s annual beer-swilling festival — Hopf was told that his beer had helped an infertile woman in the United Kingdom become pregnant. His explanation: The beer must be a miracle potion.

No. Abso-fucking-lutely not. No, no, no. This beer did NOT help an infertile woman become pregnant. Not without a reference! Not without explaining how!

The drink is the product of an unusual manufacturing process. After being brewed, the beer is stored in a special “Erotic Beer Cellar,” separate from the other 13 types of beer produced by the family business. A special neon light is shone on to it, and the composition “Also sprach Zarathustra” (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) by the German romantic composer Richard Strauss is played. “That’s the only song which works the magic,” Hopf explains.

YES! An Erotic Beer Cellar! Holy shit. An erotic beer cellar where you dress in a “scant Bavarian loin-cloth” and skunk the beer on purpose while watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I have my brewery I am TOTALLY building an Erotic Beer Cellar. That is the sexiest thing ever!

“My life has changed since my breakthrough in 2002,” he says, “and I’m not only talking about my life as a brewer. I’ve been married for 25 years and I’m not going to tell you too much about my wife, but I can assure you that she’s a fan of Erotic Beer.”

This is one of those, “No! I’ve got a girlfriend! She lives in Canada!” lines isn’t it? “I won’t tell you much about her, but she loves my little felt hat and Bavarian loin-cloth, if you know what I’m saying!” You’re saying you’re single? Gotchya.

Is it any wonder that a people don’t take beer as seriously as wine? Regardless of the clearly fictional properties and process behind the “Erotic Beer”, this article is downright embarrassing. It’s written poorly. There has clearly been no research done on the beer, the town, the brewery, the brewer, the Bavarian loin-cloth, the brewing process or anything. There is no supporting information substantiating any of these outlandish claims or even what, aside from the soundtrack, makes the beer an aphrodisiac.

It is, however, proof again that people should be paying me to write articles, instead.

More on Erotic Beer in this post!

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Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 19 Sep 2009 @ 10 25 AM

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