Emma: “Where? Can we go drink some?
As the quotes suggest, it is happening and people are legitimately excited. Even beer geeks such as ourselves.
The affection for Melbourne Bitter in the city it is named for is an interesting one. One journo has suggested that it’s the “hipster” beer of choice. But Age journo’s can’t leave the word hipster out of any beer or food story so let’s not pretend it’s just “hipsters” wanting to drink it.
Beer drinkers across Melbourne, even the staunchest beer geeks, have an affinity for the Melbourne Bitter brand. It’s often found in bottles and tins at band venues and has a low-rent but cool aesthetic that fits well with Melbourne pubs. It’s the kind of aesthetic that Melbourne loves. Think leafy beer-gardens, chicken parmas, and heaps of denim. Melbourne Bitter doesn’t feel out-of-place. When you compare it to the endless big budget ads for Carlton Draught and VB you could probably see why the cool-kids would gravitate towards it.
Personally I think it also tastes slightly better than the other Melbourne pub stalwarts, with a bit more malt flavour rather than thin sweetness, but I don’t know if I could pick it in a blind tasting. It’s been a number of years so maybe now is the time to find out.
I also think it might be able to put a dent in those mid-level beer offerings. Things such as Coopers, Matilda Bay and even Mountain Goat Steam may see sales down in certain bars. Price and fashion will often trump taste and right now Melbourne Bitter has both going for it.
I have two pieces of advice that the CUB marketing team should heed, however.
Firstly don’t turn it into Carlton Draught by trying to market the shit out of it. Its strength is the understated presence. People are excited organically. Feed that by getting it on tap at more gig-venues, anywhere with American BBQ or burgers and beer gardens. Not by slamming it down our throats in TV ads.
Second; change the branded glassware to dimpled halves/pints. Just trust me on that one.
For those who are interested in trying it around Melbourne, I believe it’s on at the Tote, Easeys Burgers and Naked for Satan. The reaction online (and from Emma and I) suggest we’ll see it a lot more places very soon.