When a Beer Inspired by the Revolution takes on the Resistance
Think Americans are polarized? We can’t even agree on good, cold beer anymore.
Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams beer, stood up to provide a toast at a recent gathering of business leaders at President Trump’s New Jersey golf resort.
Standing across the room from the President himself, Koch raised his glass.
“Tax reform was a very big deal for all of us, because 85% of the beer made in the United States is owned by foreign companies. We were paying 38% taxes, and competing against people who were paying 20,” Koch gushed. “And now we have a level playing field, and we’re going to kick their ass.”
When the remarks hit the media, the Boston Beer company, and their signature Samuel Adams brand, faced an instantaneous backlash on social media, and an ongoing series of negative press.
To take a page from Nike’s playbook, playing to Sam Adams’ target audience, as well as knowing and understanding the politics of their market, would have allowed for a big payoff.
Sam Adams customers might not be hardcore, partisan Republicans, but they may well be the kinds of people who think America should start kicking ass again, and American beer should kick ass again.
Instead of doing absolutely nothing and hiding from the brand’s adversaries, why not release a new special edition seasonal ale, Dead Redcoats? Or an American Apple Pie Cider? Even better: brew up a back-to-back World War Championship edition freedom pilsner. Feature veterans on the label.
The bottom line? Be who you are, and own it. And don’t be afraid to meet challenges with an unexpected risk that reflects authenticity and the values of your brand and company.
In the era of Instant Perception, even something as open and inviting as beer is cause for politicking, argument, outrage, and division.