TIME Advertising

This Beer Ad Only Works When Women Pass By

It uses state-of-the-art "gender detection" software


German beer maker Astra wants women to know their purchasing power is important.

The beer brand has made an automated billboard that speaks only to women when they pass by, Engadget reports. The billboard comes equipped with a camera and “gender detection” software. It also responds to women according to their age from one of 70 different recorded responses. The billboard was developed by the ad agency Philipp und Keuntje and features German comic Uke Bosse.

Read next: What your beer says about you

MONEY Travel

Unlimited Free Booze! Tropical Cruise Includes Alcohol, No Extra Charge

Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Sky

One major travel company is shaking up the way cruises are priced: All passengers get to enjoy all-you-can-drink beverages—beer, wine, and spirits included—for the whole cruise, without having to pay extra.

Norwegian Cruise Line sure does seem to want to woo heavy drinkers aboard its ships. Or at least passengers who don’t want to have to pause and think about the cost of each and every beverage they’re consuming.

Last summer, the company introduced an all-you-can-drink beverage option on a limited-time basis, in which passengers could partake in unlimited beer, wine, and spirits for a flat few hundred bucks extra. This week, the company introduced a new all-inclusive cruising package, in which all passengers aboard certain Norwegian Sky departures can enjoy unlimited alcohol at no extra charge. The new policy takes effect starting in January 2016, only on Sky three- and four-day sailings from Miami to the Bahamas.

Normally, cruise prices cover only the cost of a cabin, buffet meals, and some entertainment, and guests are charged extra for most beverages. Cruises attract people who want to relax and cut loose, so alcohol tends to be a huge revenue stream for operators.

What can happen, however, is that newcomers and experienced cruisers alike get turned off by the idea of getting nickel-and-dimed—at exorbitant, sports arena-type prices, mind you—for each drink they have. So it’s easy to see the appeal of Norwegian’s new policy, which is truly more in line with the original pitch for cruising as a mode of vacation: that of a hassle-free, all-inclusive, value-laden experience in which customers could board ships and never have to touch their wallets or worry about much of anything.

While at this time it’s only limited to one ship and short cruises, Norwegian’s more all-inclusive pricing structure will “strongly differentiate us from our competitors,” explained Norwegian president and COO Andy Stuart. He expects the change to appeal in particular to the all-important pool of people who have never been on cruises: “The three- and four-day market is an important market for us and is a market we introduce a lot of new people to cruising, and we’re excited about the prospects of going all-inclusive.”

Let’s not be naïve, however, and think that Norwegian would simply throw free booze into the package without upping the price of cruising. Stuart admitted, vaguely, that Norwegian is increasing prices “a bit” on these all-inclusive sailings. What does that mean exactly?

Answering that question with any degree of precision is more difficult than one might hope because cruise pricing in general is so muddled. How much you pay varies based on when you book, choice of cabin and extras, how you book (broker or directly?), availability, the season and exact dates when you’re traveling, choice of destination and ship, and so on.

For some indication of how much extra Norwegian is charging for its drinks-included Norwegian Sky cruises, we looked at rates in December 2015 and January 2016—immediately before and after the pricing change goes into effect. Four-day cruises from Miami to the Bahamas in early December are currently starting at a rate of $209 per person (not including port charges, taxes, and other extras), based on prices listed at Norwegian’s website. The cheapest rate in January, on the same ship with the same itinerary, starts at $339.

That’s a difference of $130, or $32.50 per day for a four-day cruise. Considering how pricey booze is on cruises—maybe $6 for a beer, $9 per glass of wine—it will be easy for many cruisers to come away feeling that the new pricing offers better value. But what if you’re traveling with children or adults who are content with a single glass of wine at dinner, or who don’t drink at all? If, on average, everyone in your party wouldn’t otherwise be compiling a bar tab of $130 or more during the course of the cruise, you’d probably be better offer sticking with a cruise with more traditional a la carte pricing.

That equation is oversimplifying things because, as mentioned above, cruise pricing is a moving target that’s impossible to nail down. Norwegian hinted that all-inclusive cruises could prove so popular that they’ll drive prices higher, which would change the math on which pricing model represents the best value for the individual cruiser. “We expect that this will increase demand, which—as you know—will drive bookings and ultimately price,” a company PR spokesperson said to Cruise Critic.

TIME Food & Drink

This Beer Poster Doesn’t Just Depict Beer, It Actually Dispenses It to Passersby

Well played, Carlsberg, well played

Thirsty Londoners were treated to free beer this week, thanks to a new Carlsberg billboard that offered fresh pints to lucky bystanders.

The new 12-meter wide poster outfitted with a beer tap sticks with a minimal design and simply declares: “Probably the best poster in the world.” Beer fans in East London seem to agree.

MONEY Food & Drink

8 Reasons to Love Beer on National Beer Day—or Any Day Really

toasting with beer
Getty Images

Contrary to popular belief, not every day is National Beer Day. This very important holiday is held annually on April 7, and to celebrate, we're counting some of the reasons beer is a beverage we love above all others.

National Beer Day is an unofficial—some might say fake—holiday celebrated annually on April 7, because that’s the day in 1933 when people could once again legally buy, make, and drink beer due to the end of prohibition. There’s a trending #NationalBeerDay hashtag and everything.

If you’re just learning about this now, you totally missed out on New Beer’s Eve last night. Bummer. But it’s not too late to partake in National Beer Day festivities today, which mostly involve, well, you know, drinking some beer and stuff.

While enjoying the frosty beverage of your choice, consider the reasons below to celebrate beer today—beyond the obvious, which is that it’s just plain delicious.

Beer is great for the economy. According to the Beer Institute, more than two million Americans earn their livelihoods thanks to beer—farming grains and other ingredients, working in retail outlets that sell beer, actually brewing beer, and so on—bringing in a total of $79 billion in wages and benefits annually. Brewers, importers, and distributors also cough up $5.3 billion in federal and state excise taxes each year.

Beer variety and quality have never been better. The Brewers Association, which represents America’s craft beer movement, reported that as of 2014, there were 3,418 craft brewers in the U.S., an increase of nearly 20% over the year before. Craft beer production rose 42% last year, and for the first time ever, craft brews accounted for more than 10% of all beer sales in America.

You can afford one after just five minutes of work. Using median hourly wages and local beer prices around the world, analysts found out that Americans have to work the least amount of time to cover the cost of a cold brew. The data, revealed in an Economist infographic, indicated that as of 2012, the average worker on earth had to toil for 20 minutes in order to earn enough money to pay for a beer—which averaged a retail price (at the store, not bars or restaurants) of $1.55 at the time. In the U.S., where wages are much higher, employees must suffer through only five minutes of work before earning enough scratch to cover the cost of a cold one ($1.80). Everybody all together: USA! USA! USA!

Beer can be especially cheap on National Beer Day. In all honesty, most bars and restaurants probably have no clue that it’s National Beer Day. But some of the establishments that are aware of this fake holiday are celebrating with gusto. Eight stores and restaurants inside New York City’s Grand Central Terminal have deals and free tastings for local brews in honor of National Beer Day. For instance, Juniors, best known for cheesecake, offers 50% off Brooklyn Lagers with the purchase of any deluxe burger today.

Anyone can make halfway decent beer. The American Homebrewers Association estimated that as of 2013, there were 1.2 million homebrewers in the country, two-thirds of whom started brewing in 2005 or later. Collectively, they produce more than two million barrels of homemade brew per year. Most craft brewing operations begin as homebrewers, and even those who aren’t interested in starting businesses are able to make money if their beer recipes prove popular. Slate recently highlighted a startup called Kit Lab, where brewers can upload their recipes as a homebrewing kit and receive $5 each time someone purchases it.

Some especially great beer is made by monks. Try as you may, your homebrew probably won’t be quite as tasty as the brews lovingly crafted by the original hipster entrepreneurs, monks. The monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass., are renowned for brewing Spencer Trappist Ale. Production in the U.S. kicked off in the summer of 2014, and on Beer Advocate, beer enthusiasts give the ale a rating of 90, which is “Outstanding.”

The underdogs are gaining ground on the corporate giants. When Budweiser aired an incredibly defensive Super Bowl commercial that proclaimed itself “Proudly a Macro Beer” and mocked hipsters and the craft beer trend in general, the move was viewed as somewhat desperate. After all, Budweiser sales have steadily declined for decades, and Anheuser-Busch InBev has tried multiple strategies to try to revamp the stale image of Bud and its other mass-produced brands. The corporate beer giants have also been buying up craft beer labels and creating their own faux craft “crafty” brands to compete with the legions of small, independent brewers around the country. And the overarching reason for all of the above schemes is that craft beer is a legitimate threat to macro beer, which once enjoyed a near monopoly of the market in the U.S.

There’s beer for all tastes. At the same time that craft brews have soared, a few old-school beer brands have seen sales rise largely thanks to nostalgia. Coors Banquet and Miller Lite have used old-school packaging—stubby bottles and the 1970s logo, respectively—to successfully boost sales. And drinkers drawn to the old-fashioned packaging seem to enjoy the brew inside. Not everyone likes dark, hoppy brews, and true beer lovers should only care about what they’re drinking, not what someone else likes to drink.

MONEY Food & Drink

Self-Serve Craft Beer Is Coming, and It Might Even Save You Money

DraftServ beer machine, Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Rob Carr—Getty Images DraftServ beer machine, Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A beer-pouring innovation is spreading to bars, restaurants, and sports venues, allowing beer drinkers to handle the taps themselves, and to pour—and pay for—exactly the amount of brew they want.

Beer drinkers, rejoice. The tyranny of being restricted to ordering brews in 12 oz., pint, or perhaps yard sizes is coming to an end. So is the necessity of actually having to speak to a bartender and ask him to do you the favor of filling your glass.

A “craft casual hot dog concept” chain based in California called Dog Haus will soon have self-service beer stations available to customers in two locations. Pour-your-own, pay-by-the-ounce beer using a technology called iPourIt is expected to be an option in the Santa Ana restaurant by the end of the month, with the Dog Haus in Fullerton coming on board by early summer.

The station will feature interactive touch screens where customers will be able to choose among what’s on tap from small SoCal brewers such as Cismontane, Noble Ale Works, and The Bruery. The way it works with the iPourIt system is that—after showing ID to prove they’re at least 21, of course—customers preload money on a card used to purchase beer they pour themselves. Prices are listed by the ounce rather than the glass, so patrons only pay for exactly the amount they want. “This system gives customers the opportunity to customize their drinking experience whether that means pouring a number of 1oz samplers or filling a 16oz pint to wash down their dog,” a Dog Haus press release stated.

“Now we’re able to take the beer and put it in the outside dining room, much like people have been doing for years with sodas,” Dog Haus cofounder Quasim Riaz explained to QSRMagazine.com. There are restrictions on how quickly you can pour and throw back your brew, however. “We’re not going to let someone walk up and just order $100 of beer,” Riaz said. “That’s not at all how the system works.”

Exact pricing and beer-pouring limits for Dog Haus aren’t released yet. A similar concept of self-serve beer stations made its debut at Target Field in Minnesota around the time the stadium hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last July. Those machines, from a company called DraftServ, featured Budweiser and Bud Light for 38¢ per ounce and fancier Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned brews from the likes of Goose Island for 40¢ per ounce. (Respectively, that adds up to $6.08 and $6.40 for a 16oz self-poured pint, which actually seems reasonable for the ballpark.) Customers load money onto cards in advance to pay for their brew, and they’re limited to pouring no more than 48 ounces every 15 minutes.

Lambeau Field and Miller Park, both in Wisconsin, introduced self-serve beer stations with Miller brews on tap last fall as well.

Meanwhile, iPourIt seems to be the self-service system of choice for bars, restaurants, and festivals featuring independent craft brews. The traveling Beer Haven mini-festival is making the rounds at larger events, such as the ongoing Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition, and it includes an iPourIt station where drinkers load money in $20 increments onto wristbands used to pay for beer by the ounce. “When you’re done, you’ll get a printout of every beer you drank, perfect to save as a tasting-notes cheat sheet,” the Miami New Times reported. A new bar opening this summer in Denver called First Draft will also feature craft beers via the iPourIt system, making it the city’s first eatery with self-serve beer.

Attendees of the 2013 Los Angeles County Fair got an especially early look at iPourIt. At the time, prices were set around 62¢ for 20 different craft brews on tap, for a pricey $10 or so per pint. But as an iPourIt rep explains in the video below, paying by the ounce can be cheaper: “You can go and taste a little bit and not get charged for a whole beer.”

As for why restaurants, bars, and ballparks are intrigued with self-serve beer, one NBC Sports reporter succinctly summed up two of the biggest reasons while testing out the technology at Target Field last summer:

I figure the twin-draw of this technology for the ballparks is that (a) in the long run they will save money on having to pay people to draw beer for customers; and (b) they figure people will buy more beer thanks to the novelty of it.

As if people need an excuse to drink more beer at the ball game.

MONEY Food & Drink

Our Love for Craft Beer Hits New Heights

Samuel Adams at Oktoberfest during the New York City Wine & Food Festival
Cindy Ord—Getty Images for NYCWFF Samuel Adams at Oktoberfest during the New York City Wine & Food Festival

Craft beer production was up an impressive 42% last year, and for the first time ever, craft brews account for more than 10% of all beer sales in the U.S.

A new report from the American Brewers Association shows that craft beer sales rose 18% by volume and 22% in dollars in 2014, while overall U.S. beer sales inched up just 0.5%. What’s more, craft beer has hit double digits in terms of market share for the first time, reaching 11% of all beer sales by volume.

For a little perspective about how quickly craft beer is being embraced by the masses, note that the category accounted for only 5% of all American beer sales in 2010. The number of U.S. breweries has skyrocketed over the years as well, from about 1,500 in 2008, to around 2,000 breweries in 2011, on upwards to nearly 3,500 today, including more than 600 new ones opened just last year.

The Brewers Association defines a craft brewer as one that is small, independent, and traditional. The guidelines mean that Samuel Adams is indeed a craft brew—the company produces fewer than 6 million barrels annually, which is the cutoff for being considered “small”—while beer labels such as Blue Moon and Shock Top are not because they are owned, respectively, by beer giants MolsonCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev. Such seemingly craft brews are often categorized, derisively, as “crafty” beer brands because the labels underplay or completely hide the fact that they’re owned and produced by the world’s biggest beer companies.

The Big Beer vs. Craft Beer battle has periodically grown testy over the years. Most recently, a Budweiser ad mocking craft beer aired during the Super Bowl in an attempt to revamp its stale image and boost flagging sales. The strategy seemed puzzling to many because Bud’s corporate parent has been buying craft beer brands left and right, while also pushing Budweiser offshoot brands that are supposedly more sophisticated and should therefore appeal to craft beer fans.

In any event, when you look at shrinking sales for macrobrew standards like Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, and Budweiser on the one hand, and soaring sales for the craft beer segment on the other, it’s pretty clear which side is winning the battle for drinkers’ dollars.

MORE: Monks, the Original Hipster Entrepreneurs, Make Some of the World’s Best Craft Beer

MONEY Food & Drink

5 Weird Ways to Consume Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day

The Guinness Float
Martin Burns—Flickr Creative Commons The Guinness Float

To haul in the green on March 17, restaurants, bakeries, and bars roll out all sorts of strange Guinness-infused foods.

The best way to enjoy a Guinness Stout is the traditional one: Just drink it by the pint, after it’s been poured perfectly from the tap, of course.

For some people, however, being limited to merely drinking Guinness doesn’t cut it. That goes doubly around St. Patrick’s Day, when revelers—not to mention chefs, restaurant owners, and marketers—go looking for creative new methods for consuming Ireland’s favorite alcoholic beverage. The Internet is loaded with recipes incorporating Guinness far beyond a basic lamb stew that you can try out in your own kitchen. You can also check out some of the unusual Guinness-flavored creations that appear on restaurant menus right about now, such as these:

Guinness Pizza: $13
Frasca’s Pizzera & Wine Bar in Chicago offers a Guinness pizza on the menu exactly once a year—St. Patrick’s Day. The crust, which incorporates Guinness for flavor, is thin, and the pizza comes with bacon, roasted onions, potatoes, and a sunny-side up egg on top. Interestingly, there’s also a restaurant franchise called Guinness Pizza, based in Brazil.

Guinness Cupcake: $3.25
There are hundreds of options on the menu of the Yummy Cupcakes franchise, including one with Guinness used in the batter, glaze, and whipped cream, with green sprinkled sugar to top it off. Fresh Cupcakes in South Carolina, meanwhile, serves its limited-time-only Guinness cupcake with Bailey’s cream cheese icing.

Guinness Burger: $11
The faux Irish restaurant-pub chain Bennigan’s puts a Guinness glaze on a burger served with fried onions, cheddar cheese, and Applewood smoked bacon.

Guinness Donut: $3 and Up
Donut makers have created seemingly every random flavor under the sun, and yes, that includes adding Guinness Stout to the mix. Dynamo Donut & Coffee in San Francisco has a seasonal Molasses Guinness donut, which includes Guinness-poached pears and a Guinness glaze. The Frozen Kuhsterd food truck in California has come up with a Guinness Pear Dynamo Donut Sandwich. BLD Restaurant in Los Angeles has been known to make Guinness Caramel donuts, though lately the Irish donut of choice is the Jameson Chocolate; the dessert menu features Guinness ice cream pie ($8) and Guinness milk shakes ($10) as well.

Guinness Ice Cream Float: $10
Among other places to find a hint (or more) of Guinness incorporated into ice cream, the Lobby Lounge inside the JW Marriott in Chicago is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by offering a vanilla bean and Guinness ice cream float with an Irish soda bread cookie on the side.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Peculiar Ways to Turn Your Beer Green

Dropping in green food coloring (with a dash of propylene glycol and parabens) won’t do your beer—or your health—any favors. But if you insist on drinking green beer this St. Patrick’s Day, consider these five natural—and truly peculiar—ways to enjoy a shamrock-shaded beer.

  • Spirulina

    Freetail Brewing Co. Spirulina Wit

    Pond scum stars in Spirulina Wit, a Belgian-style wheat beer by Freetail Brewing Company in San Antonio. They dreamt up the drink after a brewer started taking powdered spirulina—blue-green algae known for its high concentration of aquatic protein—as a dietary supplement. “There’s an almost radioactive-looking green hue to it,” says Scott Metzger, founder and CEO of Freetail Brewing Co.

    Customers loved Spirulina Wit for its semi-sweet, “vegetable-y type fruit” flavor, Metzger says. “People say all the time, ‘Oh, so this is healthy?’ We’re like, ‘Well, it’s still beer. It didn’t, like, turn into a protein shake by putting spirulina in it.'”

    It’s on tap at the brewery, starting on St. Patrick’s Day and through the summer.

    Other beers brewed with spirulina didn’t go over so well. Back in 2005, Dogfish Head unveiled the Verdi Verdi Good, which poured a clear emerald green—and fizzled. “We brewed this beer once,” the company writes on its site. “Turns out it wasn’t at the top of our list of successes!” The brew is now retired.

    “It was the only naturally green beer at that time,” says Sam Calagione, president and founder of Dogfish Head. But from the way he describes it, the flavor—”earthy and tasting like a pond”—didn’t land it a permanent spot on the tap rotation.

  • Squid ink

    Doctor's Orders Brewing

    Darren Robinson, inventor of beer styles at the Australian beer company Doctor’s Orders Brewing, wanted to create a funky-colored beer with an even funkier ingredient—squid ink, the green-black, iron-rich stuff the cephalopods squirt when they’re escaping. Cephalopod Black Berliner Weisse was born.

    Squid ink didn’t affect the taste, Robinson says, but it did make color uniformity nearly impossible. The batches ranged from “radioactive green” to “dirty paint-water grey,” he says. Apart from alienating a few vegan venues, it was a huge hit.

    Did he ever consider just adding a few drops of food coloring? “That goes against everything I’m doing with beer,” he says. “That would just be cheating…and it wouldn’t have been the success it was.”

  • Matcha green tea

    matcha green tea
    Getty Images

    Clover-green matcha—tea leaves finely ground into a powder, then whipped into hot water—has 137 times the famous catechin antioxidants found in regular green tea, one study shows. Add it to beer, and you’ve got a matcha made in heaven. Rocket News 24 swears by the stuff: “All it takes is about a half teaspoon of matcha powder dissolved in a half-glass of warm water,” they write. Fill the rest with beer, they explain, and “the matcha even fluffs up the beer foam for a beverage with a rich, velvety head that borders on physically impossible to stop drinking.”

  • Chlorophyll

    Desiree Winans Chlorophyll beer

    Desiree Winans, creator of the natural health blog Modern Hippie, felt out of place in the sea of green beers when in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago. “I sort of was resentful for not being able to partake in the green beers,” she says. “But I’m not going to drink it if I don’t know what’s in it.”

    So she brought along a vial of chlorophyll to organically jerry-rig a green beer. Five to ten drops will do it—and chlorophyll, she swears, doesn’t even have a flavor.

  • Wheatgrass

    Getty Images

    It’s packed with chlorophyll, sure, but will hops make freshly-mowed-lawn-tasting wheatgrass easier to swallow? Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Ann Arbor partnered with a local farm to make a Wheatgrass IPA. The results were, well, better than you’d think. “Very abrasive bitter finish that lingers, but you get used to it rather quickly,” writes one reviewer. You can make your own, says Organic Authority, by spiking a beer with a tablespoon of wheatgrass juice.


Here’s How Many Brits Don’t Drink Alcohol

London 2012 - Restaurants And Bars
Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images Beer pumps in a pub on March 11, 2011 in London, England.

A new survey finds a surge of teetotallers, particularly among young adults

One in five British adults don’t fancy a pint, or even a drop, according to a national survey released Friday that finds drinking rates in decline across the nation and plummeting among certain age groups.

Young adults accounted for most of the change, according to survey results gathered by the Office for National Statistics. The proportion of teetotallers in this age group surged by 40% since 2005, news which health officials greeted with relief. The study notes that excessive drinking posed a chronic public health risk, causing as many as 7,000 alcohol-related deaths in 2013.

But health experts interviewed by the Guardian dismissed the celebrations as premature. They pointed to demographic shifts, such as a growing number of elderly and Muslim citizens, who tend to drink less than the wider population or abstain from drinking on religious grounds.

TIME Advertising

Death to Adorable Puppies—At Least in Bud Ads

Puppy in a pound
Dan Brandenburg—Getty Images Puppy in a pound

Bud wasn't wrong to move back to marketing beer as beer, no matter what craft purists say

It’s no surprise two beer companies would find themselves in a pissing match. Which is exactly the state of play between MillerCoors and A-B InBev, maker of Budweiser. MillerCoors, as well as the craft beer community, are foaming at the mouth over an advertisement that Bud ran during the Super Bowl.

No, not that one. I mean the advert in which Bud proudly proclaimed its American, mass-market roots, perhaps trying to steal a march from Chrysler’s brilliant “Imported from Detroit” spot of a couple of years ago.

“Budweiser Proudly a Macro Beer,” the ad proclaimed, while the visuals highlighted Bud’s industrial brewing capacity. “It’s not brewed to be fussed over,” it went on. You could feel that slap all the way from Seattle to Williamsburg. According to AdAge, MillerCoors released and tweeted an ad of its own headlined “We believe all beers should be fussed over.” The supposed crybaby craft beer types, being creative of course, responded with wicked parodies of the Bud ad. Good for them, although if you put a glass of Bud in the middle of a dozen craft-brewed lagers, there’s a very good chance the craft aficionados wouldn’t know the difference.

It’s about time that Bud sold beer. Both MillerCoors and Bud have been dropping market share for more than a decade to the microbrew onslaught. That’s why they’ve purchased a couple of craft companies themselves—MillerCoors has Blue Moon Brewing, for instance and A-B In Bev bought Blue Point. MillerCoors is upset because the company still sees itself as part of a beer community that includes the craft brands and doesn’t want to irritate drinkers who are potential customers. Once upon a time, Coors was a cool brand, at least until it went national. The company must still think it is.

In its Super Bowl spot, Bud was trying to reassert its brand’s relevance as a true and acceptable choice for beer drinkers. This is what advertising is supposed to do, isn’t it? Buy us, not them. An ad that’s says “Drink our beer, it’s good enough—and we make a lot of it” makes more sense to me than one of Bud’s other ads. Yeah, that one, the one with the stupid lost puppy that everyone went gaga over.

Bud’s lost puppy ad is unbelievably good if you are selling puppies—and every pet shop owner in America should go out a buy a case of Bud as a thank you—but it’s completely meaningless if you are selling beer.

And Bud and MillerCoors have been having a hard time doing that. Consider the BudLight tagline, The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens. Whatever does that mean? It means that the product isn’t good enough to sell on its merits so you’ve got to come up with something else to sell. With light beer, it’s always been about partying and sex or humor, because let’s face it there’s really not much taste to sell.

A bottle of Bud is still great on a hot summer day but I personally prefer craft beers—cask conditioned traditional ales, to be exact—to our mass market brews. Once upon a time Budweiser was a craft beer, too. Every beer in America was. Bud just happened to beat up the competition up over time, including Pabst Blue Ribbon, a trendy former mass brew that somehow gets a pass.

Why did Bud become No. 1? In part, because it was a better brew; and in part because it was marketed and distributed better than everyone else. This is a company that helped create the modern advertising industry. So I’m raising a glass to Bud for getting back to basics, to blocking and tackling. Let the craft crowd mock and whine all they want. Bud needs to pour it on now, or risk become completely irrelevant in a decade.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com