The Bavarian Bier Cafe owner insists it has moved on from risque advertising that saw more complaints upheld against the company last year than any other alcohol advertiser in Australia.
According to its Year In Review, the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) upheld seven complaints against advertisers in 2015, of which three related to German beer bars owned by Urban Purveyor Group.
ABAC found that outdoor and digital ads for Lowenbrau Keller – which has since been rebranded as Munich Brauhaus – featured models that looked to be under 25 years of age, while a related social media post promoted alcohol-related offensive behaviour, namely sexual harassment of women.
Two separate ads for Bavarian Bier Cafe were also found to have breached ABAC standards, for suggesting alcohol could help achieve confidence and success, and for depicting people “holding alcohol beverages and shown in a highly animated and boisterous state consistent with excess consumption”.
Bavarian Bier Cafe also courted controversy for sexist advertising in 2014, when it withdrew its ‘Best Racks’ campaign in response to a public outcry.
He said the current ‘Crafty, eh?’ campaign for the new food and drink options at Bavarian Bier Cafe and Munich Brauhaus demonstrates the company has overhauled its approach to advertising.
“The campaign features an affable, German-accented genius dubbed ‘Ein Stein’, who is the brains behind the new craft beer and craft menu items,” said Pash.
“The campaign heralds a new direction for the business and desire to broaden our appeal to a wider customer audience, including families.”
However, the choice of branding for the company’s new range of house-made Crafty Bavarian beers, revealed by Australian Brews News in January, provides little assurance that the family-friendly approach is all-pervading.
For reasons unknown, each Crafty Bavarian beer is represented by a different girl and accompanying tasting notes full of innuendo.
There is the “summery and seductive” low carb beer dubbed Blonde Moment, the Butchers Bride Pale Ale, “a man-eater with a temper quicker than Usain Bolt down a 100 metre stretch”, and the Hop Dock Wheat Beer, “a nautical nymph… more of a captain-in-every-port kind of gal”.
Commenting on the Crafty Bavarian beers, Pash simply said: “The classic, 1950s-style female illustrations that represent the ‘personalities’ of each of our craft beers have been approved by ABAC.”
The advertising may meet minimum standards but it’s hard to accept it has been designed to be inclusive to female beer drinkers, who Roy Morgan Research says currently account for about one quarter of the Australian beer market.
That number will only increase if Australian beer consumption trends continue to follow that of the US, where women now consume 33 per cent of all craft beer, according to Paste Magazine.
“In a few years, when that number is drawing closer to 50 per cent, will these breweries still be choosing to market to only half of their potential customers? How stupid would that be?” asked writer Jim Vogel in a February article titled ‘Walking the Line: Sexuality in Craft Beer’.