Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Beery Eyed

When even single chicks are ridiculing the concept of low-carb beers, you know they're destined to join the minimally selling ranks of ice beers and Zima. Lauren McCutcheon, who pens a weekly column on the single life for the Daily News, writes today of watching Sunday's Eagles game at a Center City watering hole with her girlfriends. After quaffing some Pabst Blue Ribbon, she decides to switch brews:

Michelob Ultra tastes like beer-flavored fizzy water, which might not be terrible if you've already had several better beers. But it's terrible after a single PBR.

The first-time Ultra drinker realizes the plain truth: Carbs and calories make beer taste good.

Then she thinks: Why would I ever think that beer will taste just as good if its maker removes the stuff that made me like it to begin with?

If you watch or read about sports of virtually any kind, you've seen the Michelob Ultra ads. Very, very fit people, people whose abs are as defined as comic-book superheroes', people for whom the word ripped was invented, are shown brutalizing themselves in exercise, and then enjoying a cold Ultra as a reward.

Do any beer drinkers you know look even remotely like these people?

Do any fitness freaks you know drink good beer?

Didn't think so.

There's a Seinfeld episode in which Tim Whatley, the dentist who pops up on the show now and again, converts to Judaism, and Jerry is convinced it's solely so that Whatley can tell Jewish jokes. Jerry goes to confession -- it's a sitcom, people; roll with it -- and the priest says, "This offends you as a Jew." Jerry replies, "No, it offends me as a comedian."

When I see commercials such as those for Michelob Ultra, which actually try to link the beer and toning up, I get agitated. You might say, "This offends you as a fitness enthusiast." To which I'd reply, "No, it offends me as a beer drinker." Actually, just about any commercial for a big, bland beer -- think Coors Lite or Bud Light or Budweiser or Miller Lite or even Heineken (don't think it gets a pass just because it's an import) -- makes me start screaming about the folly of spending so more on marketing than on production or product development.

Why? Well, as a good friend of mine says, "Life's too short to drink bad beer," and I can't think of a much better mantra by which to live.


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