The country’s biggest tabloid is going into the beer business. Market research organisation Mintel reported last week that the plan is to launch a lager under the page three ‘brand’ -interesting to see what the Portman Group and every other alcohol regulatory body will have to say about that one, given that it is strictly forbidden to link beer and sex these days – and a cask ale under The Sun brand.
On the one hand, I despise Rupert Murdoch and all his works. I never pay any money to anything to do with News International if I can at all help it. On the other, you can’t help but think this will benefit the market as a whole.
Why is The Sun launching a cask ale as well as a lager? It can only be because they think it’s worth their while doing so. It ties in with the fact that premium cask ale is now consistently outperforming the rest of a dire beer market.
And The Sun has phenomenal power to change people’s opinions. At the very least, it puts beer on the media agenda more firmly than it has been for ages. We currently have the worst decline in beer volumes for nearly thirty years. Surely this can only help. It is bound to upset purists who drink ale partly in order to show how different they are from the stereotypical Sun-reading, white van-driving lager lout, but how much of that is really about the age-old pastime of pouring scorn on working class men?
Will it be shit beer because most things The Sun does tend to be lowest common denominator? Or given that what they do, they do well (Sun journalism is actually very skilful), will they produce something that’s accessible, but decent quality?
Good or bad, it’s going to be interesting.