I have a list. This list is comprised of seemingly disparate people and items connected only by the fact that they have attained an unnaturally high place in the national discourse despite sucking. Yanni, Uggs, Andrea Bocelli and those new self-serve frozen yogurt stores are some of the main culprits on this list. Coors Light Ice T is now the inaugural member of what we will be calling the Hooch & Hops’ “Distaste List.”
Coors Light Iced T comes from our friends at the Molson Coors Brewing Company (via this Cosby Sweaters’ link, thanks guys). This drink is described as a “citrus-like, iced tea flavored beer with 4% alcohol and no caffeine.” Seriously? 4% Abv and no caffeine? At least Four Loko had the business sense to make their drink an over the top abomination of alcohol and caffeine.
When I see an item like this hit the market, questions like “How could they do this to America?” and “Why, God why?” quickly give way to a more thoughtful analysis of what is really at play here. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales were up by 11% (by volume) and 12% (by dollars) in 2010. Meanwhile, total US beer sales by volume were down 1% in 2010. Considering that craft beer sales only account for less than 5% of total beer sales, this tells you that the big boys have not had the strong numbers that the craft market has been experiencing.
Even Molson Coors CEO Peter Swinburn hints (in the April 2012 issue of Smart Money magazine) that sales of Coors light are probably not going to be increasing anytime soon. This is where crap gimmicks like Coors Light Iced T come into play. The big boys start throwing things like “Iced T Beer”, “Cold Activated”, and whatever that crazy-ass Miller Lite Vortex bottle is at the consumer in the hopes that we do not notice that the product in the bottle is lacking.
As a former drinker of Natural Lite, Bud Light, and the entire Genesee Brewery family of beers, I know how hard it is to go back to the mass produced beers once you have tasted all of the amazing craft beers we now have access to. Once that cat is out of the bag it is tough to get it back in. Look around at the bars in your town. Do you see what I see? Bars are filling their tap lines with more and more high quality beers from craft breweries. I have even seen establishments using their lack of Bud Light and Coors Light taps as an advertising opportunity. Are we now seeing a larger shift away from the big boys as more and more young drinkers’ eyes are opened to the potential of craft brewing? There has got to be a graduate thesis in here somewhere.
I apologize for the somewhat ranty nature of this post but as you can probably tell, I kind of get worked up about these topics. If I didn’t, I would not have had to create a list in the first place.