I have given up trying to work out how the minds in CUB marketing work. All I know is that last week CUB was cock-a-hoop at having won the trophy for best large brewery at the Australian International Beer Awards, this week they have released a beer that manages to omit any overt reference to their company’s name.
True, in a huge step forward the SABMiller-owned company has managed to at least correctly identify the brewery in which the beer is made (Yatala) on the bottle it comes in. Still, it seems a mystery that CUB proclaims to be “proud when people enjoy life and friendship because of what we do,” but don’t seem to want to draw consumer’s attention to which beers they actually make.
So it is with their latest beer, Sun Chaser Lager. Advertised in Queensland media today as being exclusive to First Choice (and aren’t their shelves fairly groaning under the weight of CUB exclusives these days, not to mention their own range of clearly-branded beer offerings), the ad promises a beer that is “slow brewed with local Australian barley”.
Having read about it I ventured forth to my local First Choice and headed over to the Beers With Provenance section and amid the Byron Bay Pale Lager, Great Northern Lager and Steamrail beers, I found myself a bottle of Sun Chaser.
Looking at the packaging (right) I had the following questions. I understand that either CUB’s marketing team or Coles are planning to put a media release out in conjunction with a promo around Sept/Oct, so perhaps they might answer these questions when they do.
- With most commercial lagers, especially the “lower carb”, “super crisp” variety, a fair whack of cane sugar – up to 30% – is used. Is Sun Chaser all malt, or does it use cane sugar too? Is the cane sugar Australian? If so, why not loudly trumpet that fact as much as you do the barley?
- When they say they ‘don’t rush the making of’ this beer and that it’s ‘slow brewed’, how long it takes to make compared to their fast beers? This may be a moot question, I know, because back when we asked him about Crown Lager, Vincent Ruiu declined to tell us how long it was ‘lagered’ for, even though CUB built a whole campaign around Time being the Fifth Ingredient. Still they flog that horse.
- When did they start pushing the brewery and not the company that owns the brewery? Does this represent a new strategic direction for CUB. Perhaps it’s a part of a push by SABMiller’s to get local, given their out-going Executive Chairman made a point of noting that one of the things driving the craft market is it’s local, anti-marketing, anti-global, anti-big, and more focused on experience?
What does it taste like? I did a very unscientific side-by-side tasting of it with Byron Bay Pale Lager (it was meant to be a three-way tasting, but I accidentally bought a bottle of Lion’s Summer Bright Lager…they do look very similar if you’re not paying attention.) and they were pretty indistinguishable. This begs the question, why add yet another crisp, pale lager to Yatala’s Great Northern Lager and Newcastle’s Byron Bay Pale Lager? Great Northern is apparently doing OK in north Queensland, but you barely see it in Brisbane. Perhaps this is an attempt to localise near-identical beers for local audiences? No doubt all will be revealed in the informative and forthcoming media release. We await it with bated breath.