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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

When I was in high school and college, I had friends who drank Budweiser because they liked the red, white and blue logo. Forget about the beer. They drank Bud because they liked the colors on the packaging. Don't ask me if it was a patriotic thing. I think not.

Now comes word that Budweiser, a subsidiary of foreign-owned InBev, will replace "Budweiser" with "America" on its 12 oz cans and bottles for summer. It's all part of the company's plan to sell shitty beer by wrapping itself in patriotism.

The irony is hard to miss, right? Budweiser isn't an American company. But the suits in Belgium or Brazil figure the patriotic strategy will work in America, home of the brave and apparently also some of the dumbest, most ill-informed and gullible consumers in the world.

New packaging will hit shelves in late May and hang on through the fall elections. You'll be seeing billboards, murals, digital ads and retail displays throughout the summer. They're calling it the "America is in Your Hands" campaign. No kidding.

Honestly, if America truly is in the hands of citizens who buy into this shameful bit of chicanery, the country is in a lot more trouble than many think.

It's worth mentioning that Anheuser-Busch is also expanding the deep discounting it started a while ago. Reports say 18 packs of several AB brands will be buy one, get a second at 40% off in some areas. Such discounting is easy for AB to pull off due to its scale and extremely low cost per barrel. Other brewers can't afford to offer similar pricing.

When a foreign company uses fake patriotism (as well as cutthroat discounting) to sell bad beer, we've entered a scandalous new dimension. As Samuel Johnson said back when people were evidently a lot smarter than they are today, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

Update: Here's a link to the approved TTB label application. America

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