Make Tsingtao, Guinness, or Sam Adams…not World Lager Matt 05 May 2006

37 comments Latest by John

World LagerSuits at Anheuser-Busch wanted to capture some of the Heineken market. So they came up with new Anheuser World Lager…

There are some problems though:

1) It tastes like swill.

2) The marketing copy in the ads (and site, warning: gratuitous Flash) seems like it came from an SNL parody commercial: “Old world. New world. The best of both worlds.”…”People often say the best place to drink a European beer is in Europe, and that has to do with freshness.”…etc.

3) Most of all, the concept blows: If you think imported beer from one country tastes good, then imagine how good a beer from 10 countries must taste! Actually, that’s just my explanation. Here’s how they put it…

Anheuser World Lager combines the time-honored brewing traditions of brewmasters representing 10 countries with the most refined brewing practices of today.

Ah yes, the time-honored tradition of throwing together people from lots of different countries in order to come up with a single solution. It’s a concept that goes all the way back to, well, the Tower of Babel. And that certainly turned out well.

Never one to pass up an analogy, I see a design/software parallel to all this: More input isn’t always better. Compiling lots of good ideas doesn’t give you the one ultimate idea. It gives you a bland, murky mess.

People seem to realize this most of the time. Everyone knows too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the pot. Everyone’s opposed to design by committee.

Yet when it comes to building software, there are still those who argue for including as many voices as possible in the decision-making process (e.g. companies where a huge team tries to write a spec together or ones that feel like they must obey every feature request that comes in). Sure, input from diverse sources can be helpful. But sometimes you need to exclude.

A lot of the Getting Real ideas are based on exclusion. Keep teams small (more people doesn’t bring you closer to the “perfect” product). Start with no. Reject most feature ideas (you can value someone’s opinion yet still say no). Don’t try to appeal to everyone (you often have to piss off some people in order to create passionate devotion in others). Exclusion leads to focus.

You’re the brewmaster. If someone wants lager and you want to make pale ale, there may not be room for compromise. That’s ok. Stick to your vision and let them choose another option. Combining everyone’s favorite flavors just results in a product that tastes like crap.

37 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Pete 05 May 06

“Ah yes, the time-honored tradition of throwing together people from lots of different countries in order to come up with a single solution. Itís a concept that goes all the way back to, well, the Tower of Babel. And that certainly turned out well.”

Rather than biblical examples, how about we consider current ones?

Linux: The result of one Fin asking the world for its opinions. From what I can tell, the process is working out pretty well.

Sisco de Mayo 05 May 06

It tastes a lot better if you drink it through a straw.

Greg 05 May 06

Uhhh, since when is Esperanto “wildly popular”? Wikipedia says “100,000 and 2 million” speakers, which is a pretty broad estimate.

Anyway, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with a pastiche of styles, in brewing or otherwise, if it’s done properly. This beer sucks, but considering Anheuser-Busch’s track record, it would probably still suck if it weren’t a polyglot brew.

Eddie 05 May 06

hmmm alright Henk, lets see if I can bring this train back on track:

The MacBook Pro website was designed by a “team” of designers who ended up making a page that is (in your opinion) not a good quality product.

Further- it takes one person (the “brewmaster”) to bring to light the effectiveness of proper fonts on backgrounds.

ah nevermind.

Dave Churchville 05 May 06

World beer is the beer to have when you’re having more than one ;-)

Yes, too many cooks can spoil the soup, but one cook asking his best customers what to include on the menu isn’t such as bad idea. He still has to make the final descision for the menu though.

Jonathan M 05 May 06

Just for your amusement. There is a beer in China named reeb. Do you know how they came up with the name? :-)

Cheers

Benjy 05 May 06

I wondered where the guy who spearheaded the Pontiac Aztek was working these days…

Tumble 05 May 06

quote from above: “Donít try to appeal to everyone”

This beer is aimed to please everyone /else/. You aren’t the demographic for this one. Ignore it an move on. You aren’t going to like it. You aren’t supposed to.

This is one of the more elitist posts from the 37 crew lately, and there are lots of people that will read “time-honored brewing traditions of brewmasters” and think that it’ll be pretty good.

Further, remember that it only has to taste good compared to what it costs. No, it’s not a premium beer. Guinness is a wonderful beer, but your average Joe isn’t going to spend money on it.

Further, this beer doesn’t really even have to be profitable long term. It’s a new product, even if it’s not high quality, it can be profitable for a while during the period that it’s marketed heavily and by taking advantage of first time buyers and those looking to follow a trend on the cheep. Not every product created is meant to be high quality, some just have to appeal to the masses at a price point.

Concerned Beer Drinker- 05 May 06

Ok so everyone who likes the group-think approach to anything go read an Ayn Rand novel pronto!
The problem with Budweiser is that they have discovered [thanks to advertising] they do not have to make good tasting beer to sell a bunch of it to the lemmings of the world-

Waaaazzsuuuuuupp?

Alex 05 May 06

I agree with Tumble. They didn’t come out with that girlish raspberry-wheat microbrew you’re craving because they are not trying to market it to you.

Just like I doubt you are marketing BackPack to everyone whose favorite beer is Schlitz Ice.. :)

ML 05 May 06

This beer is aimed to please everyone /else/. You arenít the demographic for this one. Ignore it an move on. You arenít going to like it. You arenít supposed to.

Tumble, this post is aimed to please everyone /else/. You arenít the demographic for this one. Ignore it and move on. You arenít going to like it. You arenít supposed to.

I keed, i keed.

This post is talking about creating a quality product as opposed to churning out something subpar that appeals to the masses at a low price point. If the latter is the goal, then ignore the advice mentioned.

beto 05 May 06

Just like I doubt you are marketing BackPack to everyone whose favorite beer is Schlitz Ice.. :)

Or Busch Light for that matter.

street 05 May 06

You know, if Bud marketed this beer with ads featuring cartoonish ethnic stereotypes from around the world, I’d definately buy it.

brad 05 May 06

Combining everyoneís favorite flavors just results in a product that tastes like crap.

or like most Australian wines, for that matter.

I'm With Stupid 05 May 06

The whole ‘World Lager’ thing sounds a bit like a ‘World Entree’. I mean, who wouldn’t like an entree that combined the best cooking traditions from Canada, USA, Argentina, UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, China, Korea, and Japan? I think a Barbecued, Sweet-and-Sour, Canadian Bacon and Potato, Empanada Pizza with Gochujang Gazpacho Squid and Chips Tempura sounds great, don’t you?

Yvonne Adams 05 May 06

I wouldn’t give anything brewed by Anheuser-Busch to my worst enemy. Granted, I don’t like cheap beer, but there are better cheap beers than they’ll ever produce. It’s been a long time since I lived in Chicago, but I might ever say Old Style tastes better. It’s not good, but at least I don’t want to vomit at the mere sight of it.

I'm With Stupid 05 May 06

“Uhhh, since when is Esperanto ďwildly popularĒ? Wikipedia says ď100,000 and 2 millionĒ speakers, which is a pretty broad estimate.”

I think Danny Hope must have meant “wildly popular compared to other made up languages”.


I mean, sure, There are probably a bunch of people who can understand R2-D2’s beeps & chirps and the Lord of the Rings trilogy pushed the Elvish speaking population into the 1000s of not 10000s.

And, don’t forget Klingon and Vulcan (Romulan?), which probably have speakers numbering near 100k.
But Esperanto, with 100k to 2 million speakers is wildly popular compared to all those.

engelgrafik 05 May 06

Danny Hope was joking about the Esperanto. Isn’t it obvious, since everyone knows nobody really speaks it?

He was being sarcastic.

Greg 05 May 06

Durp. My sarcasm detector must be broken today.

I'm With Stupid 05 May 06

Thanks, engelgrafik, you saved me many fitful seconds of making up stats for other made up languages.

Now I can return to day dreaming about what the “Victoria’s Secret World Woman” (which “combines the time-honored hotness of hotties representing 10 countries with the most refined hottie practices of today”) would be like.

Kevin 05 May 06

Hey stupid, I think I saw one of those in South Beach this morning.

Jonathan M 05 May 06

I dont know about you, stupid. 10 refined hotties, each from a different country is allright by me. Nevermind the ‘combine’ stuff. I dont need no ‘world woman’ :-)

iTodd 05 May 06

“Ah yes, the time-honored tradition of throwing together people from lots of different countries in order to come up with a single solution. Itís a concept that goes all the way back to, well, the Tower of Babel. And that certainly turned out well.”

Yeah, I mean, that sounds almost as ridiculous as throwing together business partners from Provo, Chicago, New York and Denmark…

hehe,, i kid

Tumble 05 May 06

The complete quote:

“We challenged our top brewmasters representing 10 countries around the globe to collaborate and create something extraordinary,” said August A. Busch IV, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. president and a fifth-generation brewmaster.

Hmm, collaboration. The above post talks about combination, while the president of the AB is talking about collaboration.

I don’t have the energy for the collaboration/combination debate today…. but I’d love to watch the 37 readers comment about it.

Chris Mear 05 May 06

I particularly like how the advert is cleverly designed to evoke memories of long-haul airline flights, those smooth relaxing experiences that everyone enjoys so much.

RyanA 06 May 06

Beer advertising is ridiculously out of proportion with quality.

Here in Australia the beer companies with the biggest advertising budgets (and subsequently very high quality advertising) have the worst beer in Australia (minus, perhaps, Stevos home brew).

You can’t trust anything. Heineken advertise that their beer hasn’t changed since the 1700’s. So I’m guessing it was arse 200 years ago, too?

The best Australian beer you can get is microbrewed. Small companies with less regard for ‘time to market’ and more regard for ‘what is good’.

You hear about them through word of mouth by people who have tried their products and were absolutely amazed. They couldn’t believe what they were missing all this time.

Sounds like a familiar business model to me!

Andrew 06 May 06

Can’t get enough of that wonderful duff!

Anonymous Coward 07 May 06

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    foreach ($array as $key => $value) {
        if(is_array($value)) {
            $array[$key] = clean_array($value);
        } else {
            if ($value == NULL or $value == " ") {
                unset($array[$key]);
            }
        }
    }
    return $array;
}

DaveMo 08 May 06

Concerned Beer Drinker hit it on the nose.

Anhauser Busch has the marketing clout to repackage Bud, Michelob and/or whatever dregs are left in the brewing vats at the end of the day and sell it as something new. Because it’s advertised as new and the vast consuming public are eager for “new” things, people will buy it.

The concept in practice here is “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

Dave 08 May 06

A chef asking his best customers what to include on the menu is a great idea. But taking those items and mixing them together into one dish is a lousy idea.

If they want to be honest, the tagline should read ‘World Beer: Designed by Committee.”

dusoft 08 May 06

Sicne they have completely left out the Czech beer, it must taste like shit.

John 10 May 06

No doubt its all clever marketing. I’ll wager it tastes like an uptown “Buttwiper”.

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