To celebrate International Beer Day, consumers can buy a six-pack for the outrageous cost of $100 at select locations.
“$100 for a six-pack? Get used to it,” blares the headline on a placard near the display of New Belgium Brewing’s flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale that will be selling for that very high price at a handful of beverage stores on Friday.
The point is that unless the United States and the world take dramatic steps to shrink its carbon footprint, the $100 six-pack could actually become a reality.
The campaign is a part of a larger campaign called “Drink Sustainably.” A new website from New Belgium, DrinkSustainably.com, will become an open-source platform of carbon neutrality information for beer makers, the company says.
New Belgium created the initiative in partnership with the creative agency Red & Co.
New Belgium is also using International Beer Day to trumpet that last month it became the first nationally distributed beer to earn carbon-neutral certification in the U.S.
Publicizing the high cost of beer, even as a one-day stunt, seems a little dangerous because craft beer is already priced high compared to traditional mass-market brews. (A spokeswoman says the three retailers -- in Minneapolis, Denver and Littleton, Colorado -- selling Amber Ale at that jacked-up price will discount the “advertised” price when customers check out.)
But the messaging is the goal. Mira Kaddoura, founder of the Red & Co. says, “The ‘True Cost’ concept is a way to put some skin in the game -- not just another ‘awareness’ raiser, but a real shock to the consumer system. We want people to realize, ‘Not caring about the environment will affect me in one huge way: money in my pocket. I will have to pay more for all the things I love.’ “
The display poster makes some sobering points. While noting that usually International Beer Day is a special reason to celebrate, it reads, “But this year feels different. In the midst of one crisis, we’re hurtling toward another: A future in which beer along with all kinds of staple foods, will become dramatically more expensive, as global agriculture is disrupted by climate change.
“Of course beer will be the least of our problems. The economic consequences of climate change could make the unemployment numbers of 2020 look tiny by comparison.” The text demands Congress acts aggressively on climate change.
The poster is also reproduced as a full-page ad in the Friday edition of The New York Times, and there’s also other paid advertising planned via Facebook, Twitter. The Guardian and the Times’ digital pages.
Founded in Ft. Collins, Colorado in 1991 by Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch, New Belgium is currently the third largest craft brewer according to Nielsen. It’s added other newer facilities in Asheville, North Carolina and Denver.
Last November it shocked the craft beer community when it was
acquired by Lion Little World Beverages, the Australian craft beer subsidiary of Japanese beer giant Kirin. The sale made waves for some because New Belgium’s employee-ownership model and
its environmental concern have become models for the craft beer industry.
Jordan quickly emphasized that Lion wanted New Belgium to maintain its sustainability programs and said the new owners pledged to make its Australian and New Zealand breweries carbon-neutral as well.