Google made a charming video out of things people searched for in 2012.
They also let you zero in on search trends by country. A casual browse of Canadian searches turned up what you’d expect for many topics, but one stuck out in a sad way that I hope we can correct in 2013: Beer.
Can you spot the Canadian beer on the list? There’s only one. Moosehead.
All the others are owned by massive foreign multinationals, which is a problem for a few reasons:
- First of all, they create the illusion of choice–Sleeman is owned by Sapporo, but the rest are owned by the big two; Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors
- Like any factory commodity, their goal is to get away with the cheapest product they can
- The money may pay a few salaries and some rent, but the bulk of their wealth leaves the region they’re brewed. So while you think you’re proudly supporting a Canadian venture, you’re doing it a lot less than if you found a beer owned by people near you.
Now this is a tricky topic because the relationships between these beers and their owners are varied. Many haven’t changed recipes, so if you loved something local, I understand that can be tricky. And I’m not here to tell you what to do. My only interest is in leveling the playing field.
These companies are spending untold fortunes on marketing to convince existing and prospective beer drinkers that what they’re selling is the definition of beer. And it’s not. A lot of it is yellow swill marketed to kids using boobs, tropes like geography and inanity like temperature or smoothness.
And many fine folks making things near you have all the cards stacked against them. In Ontario, for example, the only place we can buy beer (besides going directly to breweries) is in “Beer Stores” owned by these same multinationals. Talk about the wolves guarding the hen-house.
What would it take for 2013′s list of most searched for Canadian Beers to actually be Canadian brands?
What would it take to make the same thing happen in your industry?
I haven’t seen it yet, but in my research around this topic, I came across Beer Wars, the movie I’ll be watching tonight with a local craft beer in hand. Here’s the trailer.
Finally, in case it interests you, here’s a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list of who owns what Beer.