Monday, March 10, 2014

Not crazy about the new Smithwick's design

Smithwick's is a solid red ale brewed in Ireland.  The consensus on Beer Advocate seems to be that it's fine, nothing spectacular, but not bad.  I like it a little more than that probably.

Smithwick's used to have a perfectly fine package/bottle design.

You've got your castle, your 18th-century date to show how long it's been around, a little bit of green, and a nice scripty logo.  Like Beer Advocate would say about the beer itself, it's fine, nothing too good or too bad.

Smithwick's was doing fine and then, I imagine, they hired a consultant to jack up sales.  This consultant, a heartless, emotion-free autocrat, told them they had to redesign their perfectly good logo and packaging.  Smithwick's - and again, this is just my theory, I don't have any actual proof - hired the same design firm that works for Axe Body Spray and Uber and any other design you associate with assholes who wear flip flops and yell into cell phones on the train.  This is what they came up with.

Ugh.  It doesn't even look like beer any more.  Now it looks like one of those faux malted douche juices like Redd's Apple Ale.  In fact, look:

It's like the exact same colors and typeface and everything.  I'm sure the experts at DoucheBranding have done extensive research and know that packaging should be red to catch your eye in an increasingly crowded shelf ecosystem or whatever kind of shit they say, but it looks awful.

DoucheBranding also convinced them to make a TV commercial featuring - I am not making this up - a CGI squirrel who runs around the Smithwick's factory making beer at night.  Apart from the obvious problem that YOU CAN'T MAKE BEER OVERNIGHT, they didn't even have the decency to use an Irish band, instead opting for the Kaiser Chiefs.

Smithwick's is now owned by megacorporation Diageo, so I guess that explains a lot.

(One postscript - I just learned from rading Diageo's Wikipedia page that, in addition to Guinness, Red Stripe, Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Tanqueray, Smirnoff, and Rumple Minze (shudder), Diageo owns bourbon fetish object Bulleit, which has done an incredible job of positioning itself as some kind of artisanal handcrafted bourbon when in fact it's just part of Everything Co.  Good job, Bulleit!)


Tamagosan said...

Yikes. You only get 11.2 oz, too? Is that metric holdover? Between the Diageo folks and those at InBev, it's hard not to drink corporate. The Bulleit news is especially hard to swallow but I can't wait to self-righteously not order it in my next Manhattan.

TK said...

I didn't even notice the 11.2 ounce thing! Wow, that's a scam. I don't think it's a metric thing; 11.2 ounces is 331 ml.

"The Bulleit news is especially hard to swallow" - I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE

Tamagosan said...

Ah, 33cl was the beer size of choice while I was living in France. (Small, perhaps, but the wine size was like 3L so it all works out.) Since Europe is one country, that makes sense right?

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