Saturday, November 29, 2008


I had a comment posted a week back seeking counsel on an important and delicate issue;

Dear Professor,

I’m getting married next month and I must choose between having Beck’s or James Boag’s Premium as the wedding beer.

Any thoughts?

Thank You, Jason the Architect.

Jason is both blessed and cursed in the same way that many of his predecessors were sublimely oblivious. Going back ten and twenty years when most of our crew were getting hitched, not only were we not given a choice but we didn’t realise that there was a choice. Well, apart from one.

At a wedding you had VB as the table beer in 750ml longnecks and the bridal party had Crown Lagers – sorry, Crownies – during the photo session and in the back room while the guests were being seated. We never drank anything much other than VB and that was just the way it was.

Today the bride and groom are more likely to be offered a choice but for many the choice will be ‘Boring Mainstream Lager A’ or ‘Boring Mainstream Lager B’ or, in Jason’s case ‘Mainstream Lager A’ or ‘Mainstream Lager But Imported A’.

It got me to thinking about what factors come into play when choosing a beer and what that choice says about you and and how you feel about your guests. I suggested to Jason that careful consideration needed to be given as to what your choice of beer says to your guests about what you think of them. So many guests today will be armed with the knowledge that there is more to beer than standard golden mainstream lagers and who know that there is not really a difference between Carlton Draught and Toohey’s New other than the state of origin.

The reality is that most guests will not see a mainstream beer on their table as a slight by you, but that would not have made for a very interesting post, so let’s just pretend that they will all assume that they have offended your family name if they were to be served Carlton Cold. By the way, please, please, please don’t serve Carlton Cold. Even as a joke.

So what does Beck’s ‘say’ to your guests and what is Mr Boag’s reply? The import probably hints at certain perceived levels of quality. Plus, every man and his dog have seen their series of TV advertisements on high rotation lately and will at least know the brand, unlike the wedding guests of a decade back. (That’s a rather sad realisation isn’t it?)

The Beck’s beer with its precision German engineering and inoffensive profile suggests that; “Your company on our special day is thought of highly, we value your friendship and trust you all enough that you will not buy us cheap and shitty gifts from shops whose names end in ‘R US’ or ‘A-RAMA’, that this is our special day and we choose to share it with you even if we think your partner is a bit dodgy and we are betting your relationship won’t see Christmas and that we wish for you to be a part of our lives when we are married”.

James Boag’s Premium Lager is a local version, clean and crisp, easy drinking without being bland – interesting enough to be enjoyable to those with a bit of beer nous but not too ‘boutique’ to make the semi-bogans wish they’d smuggled in some VBs under the corduroy sports jacket that they consider falls well within the definition of ‘Lounge Suit’. It says pretty much exactly the same as what the Beck’s says, but says ‘mate’ at the end.

Prof. Pilsner

No comments: