The rage has been going for some time now – that of Australian beer drinkers buying and ordering something that is not exactly what it appears to be.
There is a large Peroni advertising billboard exposure happening at present; just at the same time as the social media is saying the stuff being advertised is not the real thing, you know, brewed in Rome and shipped to Australia in bottles.
The beer being advertised is brewed by Pacific Beverages (which is Coca-Cola distributing, SABMiller doing the brewing expertise, although that looks to be unravelling) in Newcastle and sold as a substitute for Peroni across the Australian market.
Of course one can find the real Peroni as the owners do allow parallel imports – that is smaller concerns bring it into the country as imported packaged beer.
But it appears that Pacific Beverages do that too; my Peroni left over from a previous purchase says PRODUCT OF ITALY, Italian original, brewed and bottled in Italy, and imported to either Australia or New Zealand by Coke.
When that ran out of stock, no doubt it ceased and was replaced by the local bottle.
The most interesting investigation (though lightweight by this author as a wine writer) was pricing.
I walked into my local restaurant last week, and the owner was most concerned about his beer list, and he had read the fine print on his listed imported beers only to find most were brewed in Australia.
It seems a socially-aware customer had pointed this out; and of course the extra rub was that restaurant charges a dollar extra for “imported” beers; clearly evidence where a little bit of deceptive conduct could be simmering along in the Australian beer industry at the moment.
The three offending beers; Stella Artois, Beck’s and Kronenbourg are all brewed in Australia, yet were listed as imported beers (import means take it from its historical place of production in its packaged, bottled form to the importing country).
So the restaurateur feels conned by his beer representatives and badly over-charged by the brewer for thinking he had imported product when he had mass produced recipe-driven beer from down the road.
I think he will have cause to review his beer supplies.
Then there is Beck’s brewery in Bremen, brewing in the port city since 1873, suggesting in its advertising on its official world-wide website that it’s beer is the “difference by choice”.
Dan Murphy’s (with the lowest liquor price guarantee) go on to say in their push for the good Beck’s hop drop that it is brewed under the German Purity Law of 1516, and other rubbish justifying this product, simply brewed locally by Lion Nathan.
This is a bit of a scam only because the advertising does not stay very truthful, and probably explains why the Millennial generation dismisses the big brewers drinks in preference for “boutique” brews with a sense of place, and authentic origin descriptions.
According to a release Lion Nathan makes Beck’s in Australia under a 10-year deal signed on June 25, 2004.
From reading the dialogue on the industry advice site www.beeradvice.com.au/51/becks, Beck’s have also been subjected to similar scrutiny in 2007.
The brewer response trotted out the tired line about the local “Beck’s” brew being fresher and ran down the bottled stock being heated in transit, and being three months old and not being in as good a condition as the “fresh brew”.
Well today’s young drinkers are not really brand supportive; if they wish to drink fresh beer then there is plenty of draft to be had; and as for beers faking their origin, then drinkers just move on to something more original that their mates find.
For a recent media tasting of imported versus locally-brewed same brand “European beers”-read Max Allen’s additional exposure of this caper: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/the-real-thing/story-e6frg8h6-1226006911607
If Max’s assertions are correct, that brewed in Oz European beer is more expensive than the individually-shipped European-made bottle, then the big brewer price gouging needs to be stopped. Customers can simply not buy it (if they become informed!)
And my restaurant friend needs to change his beer brands too, take the choice to the edge and give better value with a beer with the true story. There are heaps from Asia.
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