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Stella Cidre: a footnote

I don’t like returning to the same theme twice.  It smacks of overkill, flogging a dying horse.

But for pity’s sake, I’m only human.

Yesterday I invented a pisstake interview with Stella Artois, the brand, as a comment on the launch of Stella cidre.  I’m gratified that people found it amusing.  Then, yesterday afternoon, AB-Inbev CEO Stuart Macfarlane gave a real interview to Justdrinks.com.
It’s even funnier than my pisstake.
To demonstrate this, below are six quotes: three from my pisstake interview, three from the real interview with Macca.  See if you can guess which are the genuine quotes and which are the parodies.  And remember – I wrote mine BEFORE the real interview was published.  I’m not taking the piss out of Macca here.  If anything, he’s imitating me.  
Of course, you can cheat by following the link to his interview, and/or just scrolling down to read yesterday’s post.  But you’d only be cheating yourself.
Here goes – answers in tiny type at the bottom:

“When you’re the nation’s favourite alcohol brand, consumers have raised expectations of everything. We’ve worked hard to make sure that our cider is significantly ahead of the industry benchmark.”

“Stella Artois is dogged by an undeserved reputation as loopy juice, and some people even call it ‘Wifebeater’. Giving our drinkers permission to create Stella snakebite seems like the perfect way to rid the brand of this entirely undeserved reputation.”
“Stella Cidre can be the flywheel for cider category growth. We will bring more premium drinkers into cider than any other brands can do, because they don’t transcend other categories like Stella does.” 
“The Stella Artois brand can do what none of the other brands can do. This is game-changing, we are the first beer brand to move into cider.”
“If more companies sought to find opportunities and to innovate more, they’d be more optimistic. I urge the people in our industry to find that opportunity. Other brewers need to start acting more like FMCG companies.”

“As a company, we are leading innovation in drinks. Actually, I could argue that A-B InBev is leading innovation in the entire FMCG sector.”

I lied.  Number two is mine.  Unbelievably, the rest are all genuine quotes.



Martyn Cornell

Truly beyond parody. Anybody want to open a sweepstake on how long it is before Stella Cidre ends up in the same dustbin as Artois Bock, Peeterman and Eiken Artois? I'll bag 10 months …


Sadly, he's wrong, but we all knew that anyway. Montheith's ( a Dominion Breweries 'craft' brand here in New Zealand) has been doing a cider for at least a couple of years. They're even doing a "pear cider" now (why the f**k can't people call it a perry?).

By the way Pete, you need to get your ass down here to NZ for Beervana in August. Just saying, like.


"This is game-changing, we are the first beer brand to move into cider"

Presumably he's ignoring Wychwood and their Green Goblin cider.


Tremendous fun! But in all seriousness, I'd love to see a throwdown between this and all the actual good ciders coming out of the Pacific Northwest, France, traditional British ones, etc. – as long as it was just as quotable.

Pete Brown

So that's the first beer brand ever to go into cider except Thatchers, Sam Smith's – oh, and Badger – in the UK, and Monteith's in New Zealand.

Good call, Macca.

And then we have copying an idea the rest of the market did five years ago labelled as 'leading innovation not just in beer, but across the whole of FMCG'.

Aldridge Prior the Hopeless Liar is back in Viz this month, I notice…


Monteith's are great. Went on their brewery tour last year. Well worth a visit if you're ever in that part of the world.


Martin- they have to call it pear cider because perry has to be made entirely with perry pears. Interestingly cider only needs to only be 50% apple juice

Alexander…I assume you're aware Katy is an apple variety and that's why there's a cider named Katy?

I'm not sure I'd even want to taste this "cidre" if someone offered to buy me one…

Pete Brown

Eddie, FMCG stands for Fast Moving Consumer Goods, and basically refers to pretty much anything in a supermarket. It's the home of good old fashioned marketing and brand management in other words.

Macca has previously suggested that AB-Inbev doesn't think of itself as a brewer, but as an FMCG marketing company that happens to sell beer.

And that tells you all you need to know.


Pete said:
"So that's the first beer brand ever to go into cider except Thatchers, Sam Smith's – oh, and Badger – in the UK, and Monteith's in New Zealand."

No – Stella is the first beer 'brand'. The others are all brewers.


And that tells you all you need to know.

[swears repeatedly]
[tries to think of grown-up and articulate way of expressing the same sentiments]
[swears some more]


SteveF – sorry to disagree, but Monteith's produce megaswill masquerading as craft. Most (if not all) of the Monteith's output is produced at DB's production breweries around NZ, not at the (good for tourists) place in Greymouth. All their 'ales' are actually lagers.

There is so much good NZ craft beer out there, don't be fooled by these impostors!

Sorry for diverting the discourse Pete!


Thank you for that, but dear God. I'm trying to market the pub this year (may be in touch regarding that) but if I ever use acronyms like that please slap me. As you say, that does tell me everything I need to know about them.

In the middle of January I sometimes wish my beers were faster moving though…


What makes me laugh about this stuff is that the new wave of mass Market ciders is all about brewing something that tastes bad then brainwashing the public into having to have a bucket of crushed ice in it so it tastes drinkable.

Starting off a campaign with the suggestion that your product needs to be served over ice to be drinkable surely is a bad start?


Being a strongbow drinker for 40 years I can say with all honesty this is piss.

Saga Of Nails

Sorry. Removed the comment because it was illegible. Less drunk now.

I know that I am a little late to the argument but Bath Ales 'make' a cider, as do Dawkins Brewery, both in the Bristol area. Obviously Moles have been in the cider making business for a long while.

Surely if they call it 'Cidre' rather than cider, they don't have to put any apples in it whatsoever. Sneaky little $%&*s. I suspect that it shall include very little apple content whatsoever, and will taste even worse than Woodpecker, if you can imagine that.

I will not be selling it, for sure. 🙂


"Surely if they call it 'Cidre' rather than cider, they don't have to put any apples in it whatsoever."

Unless it contains at least 35% juice, it will be taxed as "made-wine", not the lower cider rate, so I doubt this is the case.

Didn't Pete say in his original post on the subject that they claimed it contained 50% apple juice? ISTR Pete saying it tasting noticeably more "appley" than the corresponding Bulmers product.


Most people who drink cider regularly won't like that they have to call something created in England by a French name. Fuck cidre.

Worst marketing strategy ever.


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