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Focus on the LDB VII

with 2 comments

If you haven’t been over to the LDB’s website recently, you might have missed their full site redesign, which was quietly rolled out recently. The new site is slicker and sports a more minimalist design that I actually prefer to the old. However, that’s not all. There are also new features, including an easy-to-access list of recommended products (sure, it’s full of crap right now, but give it time), and the ability for the plebs (that’s you guys) to rank their inventory from 1 to 5 stars.

That last feature made the rounds of the local Molson marketing group shortly after the launch of the site, as the entire Molson catalogue was quickly marked up to 5/5 stars, including sub brands such as Granville Island and the lesser known Black Loon. Subtle, guys. Things eventually balanced out, but a few hundred beer geeks going through the beer section would be even better than the general public (hint hint… link).

So, did a new website lead to a new advertising strategy? Not even a little. Well, I guess the new site now has nine prominent advertising slots with which to ignore beer instead of the old seven, which is sort of a change. Our new total gives us:

Wine: +5
Liquor: +2
Beer: +0
Corporate: +1

One of those links goes to the now-permanent Savvy Shopper feature, which is basically “what’s cheap and still gets you there.” Seriously, pretty much anything you see here is best paired with big hair, stained t-shirts and cars on blocks; they might as well sort these listings by ounces of alcohol per dollar. In any event beer does make a small showing in the 31 discounted booze products, even if it’s mostly Bud.

Wine: 15
Beer: 4
Liquor: 12 (lumped the “coolers” in here. Seriously, though, what IS Palm Bay?)

I mean, aside from being the
drink of choice of these people.

In addition to those, the Spring Edition of Taste Magazine has been released. Weighing in at a hefty 180 pages, it contains ads for 185 products, and 6 of those are for beer! In fact, not only are there six more featured beers than last issue, and not only are these pretty decent beers, there’s a whole article about beer by none other than Joe Wiebe! Rock on, Joe!

Sure, Taste is still a meandering, wine-myopic tome (153/185 featured products are wine), and I’m reasonably sure some wines have now been featured multiple times over the past year, but progress is progress. If this rate of increased features keeps up, beer will contribute as much to the pages of Taste as it does to the LDB’s sales figures by, oh, 2017 or so.

Much more likely, though, is the all-Franzia Special Edition.

Taking all that into consideration we wind up with:

Wine: 33 (+6)
Beer: 3 (+1; rounded waaaay up)
Liquor: 12 (+2)
Corporate: 13 (+1)

Lastly, here are three great beers currently on the LDB website that they could have chosen to feature instead of laundry lists of wine that have been featured several times already (The Show, anyone?). Sure, Joe picked six interesting Vancouver-based brews in his article, but those are buried a bit deep for web-consumption.

Beer 1: Phillips Bottle Rocket ISA

Classic LDB attention to beer. They get the name right but neglect to tell you who brewed it. The brewery in this case is Phillips, and this is their new(ish) and impressive Bottle Rocket India Session Ale. It’s a milder, lower-ABV take on the now-common IPA style.

Price: $11.85 for 6x355ml cans
Availability: Very low; likely just starting to be stocked

Beer 2: Central City Pilsner

Need a nice lager to go with the warming weather? Try Central City’s new Pilsner. It’s a superb hoppy Pilsner that’s a near perfect example of the style. Crisp, light with subtle hops.

Price: $12.40 for 6x355ml cans
Availability: Widely available.

Beer 3: Townsite Said the Ale

Need a beer with an awesome storyline? Not too long ago CBC Radio 3 threw out an idea for beers named after bands. Everyone loved the idea, and it took off. The result? Several BC Breweries borrowed the CBC graphics and brewed actual beers that pay tribute to awesome indie bands. This guy is a play on “Said the Whale.” Indie music and craft beer: my two favourite things in the world together at last.

Price: $5.96 for 650ml of indie awesomeness
Availability: Select stores; might have to ask them to ship it to your store.

Written by chuck

May 21st, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Focus on the LDB VI

with 12 comments

Wow. Sometimes you start an unrelenting campaign against a large corporation suspecting that you’ll go to your grave sixty years hence having tweeted at them every day to stop calling their lager an IPA with no effect (seriously, though, keep up the good fight, Lynn).

And sometimes that campaign has an effect and something changes. Or, more likely, something changes for reasons completely unrelated to your blog and its five articles calling out the LDB for never advertising craft beer. Whatever, they have an ad up now and I’m taking credit.

Yup, if you go over to the LDB’s website right this instant and look, you’ll see a big old ad for BC Craft Beer right there in the main rotator, and first in line at that!

Surely, though, this just links through to an 18-pack of Canadian on sale, right? I mean, that’s beer what is crafted in BC, and that’s about as deeply as the LDB considers such things, no? Well, I got news for ya, beer geeks, the linked packs are… well… uh… sorta okay. They’re okay.

M-E-H. Meh.

And that’s something to be happy about, as it represents a huge improvement over previous efforts. Let’s take a look at these puppies:

The “Craft Pack“: Whistler Whiskey Jack Amber, VIB Beachcomber Blonde, Nelson Old Brewery (Pale), Russell Cream and Lighthouse Fisgard 150 Bavarian Lager. Sure, it’s a solid meh on pretty much all accounts, but none of these beers are straight up bad.

UPDATE: See Anthony’s comment for the real contents. Sigh.

What about the “Craft Can Pack“? Tree Thirsty Beaver Amber, Phillips Blue Buck Pale, Fernie Griz Pale, Cannery IPA, Red Racer Pale, and Mt Begbie Kolsh. Whoa. Some good beers in there.

Sure, the LDB put together a description of these beers with such care and attention that they:

  • Omitted three brewery names
  • Omitted four beer styles
  • Misspelt two brewery names
  • Completely forgot one of the bottles

This yields a batting average of 0.333 for overall accuracy (Seriously? “Lighthourse”? “Vanvouver”? Are you paying the web staff in free booze?) but hey, it’s craft beer on the front page, right?

So we’re done here? All is good? Well, no, not even close. Just because the LDB has elected to not completely ignore us, I’m not about to fawn over them, forgetting the months of abuse we’ve endured. Us Craft Beer fans aren’t going to put this one glimmer of semi-respect up on a pedestal and proclaim all is well. Keep it up for six months, though, and we’ll talk.

So where does this put the running total for ad space?


Wine: 3
Beer: 1
Spirits: 1
Corporate: 1
Mixed: 1 (32% Spirits, 47% Wine, 21% Beer)

Running Total:

Liquor: 10 (+1)
Corporate: 12 (+1)
Wine: 27 (+4)
Beer: 2 (I gave ’em some credit for the mixed ad)

Lastly, I know I like to end these articles with a highlight of good beer at the LDB, but I will give them a hat tip here. They’ve done this job for me this time, so go have a gander while it’s up.

I’ll stop permanently when those ad numbers approach even.

Written by chuck

March 13th, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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Focus on the LDB V

without comments

It’s been a few weeks since we last took a look at the LDB’s advertising strategy, and I’ve just noticed that they’ve updated the website with a slew a of new ads.

So, let’s see here, they have… holy shit. There’s beer here. On the main rotator, even! Except… well… it’s Coors Light…. sharing space with Miller Genuine Draft… and cheap awful wine. Sigh. Fine, let’s get out the calculator.

Total Ads: 7

Wine: 4
Liquor: 0
Beer: 0
Mixed: 2
Corporate: 1

The “Mixed” category means these ads are for multiple product types, and those break down as follows:

“Savvy Shopper” Ad:

Wine: 8/15 (hmm… can Toscano Rosso be considered strictly “wine”, per se?)
Liquor: 5/15
Beer: 2/15 (I know, I know)

“Taste Magazine Winter Edition”

Wine: 169
Liquor: 28
Beer: 0

I think that last one is the most insulting. Taste Magazine is supposed to be the LDB’s premier tool for highlighting all that is great and awesome about booze in BC. This issue runs a colossal 188 pages and features 197 different products, yet not one single feature is dedicated to beer of any sort, Coors Light or not.

Think about that. Someone, somewhere, was scouring their database for products to feature in fucking WINTER and they decided to add the one hundred and sixty ninth wine before even considering resorting to beer. Here’s a hint, guys, if you search the LDB database for “Winter” you get 31 hits, 22 of which are beer–maybe some of those would work out well in a magazine about winter booze? I’m just throwing the idea out there, is all.

It would appear that the only ads the LDB thinks beer drinkers want to see is when their favourite shite macro is on sale. Oh well, so where does that leave our running totals?

Liquor: 9 (+0.48 rounded up)
Corporate: 11 (+1)
Wine: 23 (+5.39 rounded up)
“Beer”: 0.27 (+0.13)

Now, why did I round up Wine and Liquor but not beer? Is this me skewing the results to make things look worse than it really is? Or is this me not bothering with small decimals on numbers over 20? Tell you what, when beer breaks 1.0 I’ll let you know.

And lastly, the whole “Please focus on beer” aspect of this argument doesn’t make sense unless there actually IS beer to focus on. So LDB, here are three great beers you’re listing RIGHT NOW that could have been in Taste Winter or any of your ads if you’d even considered beer a product worth talking about in any way shape or form, and each one comes from that search for “Winter” that no one thought to do for your “winter” magazine.

Beer 1: Dead Frog Winter Beeracle

Is the Frog alive? Fearless made us wonder what would next appear from the undisputed “Best Brewery in Langley”, and this is that beer. I haven’t tried it, and therefore the jury is still out, but maybe you should taste it before I rant about it/praise it and flavour your judgement.

Price: $4.99 for 650ml
Availability: Widely Available

Beer 2: Hopworks Abominable Winter Ale

But you know what I have tried, and is excellent? This guy. The LDB’s recent habit of carrying one or two beers from Hopworks has made me very happy, and this beer started it all last year. As you might expect, it’s a more hop-forward take on the usually very sweet style of Winter Ale, but not so much as to make it a “Winter IPA,” should such a thing exist…. I just came up with the best idea for a beer ever!

Price: $6.25 for 650ml
Availability: Widely Available

Beer 3: Lost Coast Winterbraun

Points for crazy bottle artwork are definitely merited here, but also for a delicious brown winter ale. A slightly tweaked version of a normal brown ale will leave you wondering where brown ales end and where winter ales start (usually in the spices… aw crap, I just spoiled it for you, didn’t I?)

Price: $4.85 for 650ml
Availability: Widely Available

Written by chuck

January 9th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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