Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A post in which I bite the hand that feeds

I got ANOTHER tasty present in the mail this month, from the PR company that does work for Newcastle. I appreciate presents. Who doesn't?! So I'll tell you all about what I got, and I am going to offer my personal 2 cents on the whole thing.

Every now & then the life of a beer blogger includes a good smack on the forehead with the realization that you simply forgot about a brand of beer. Like wiped it out of your memory. Like it was one of your gateway beers in the 90's, when you were labeled a snob for not drinking frat party keg beer, and you haven't tasted it since. Newcastle, Fat Tire, and JW Dundee's Honey Brown all fall into this category for me.

I received a full 6 pack of Newcastle, along with a few sample tips and pages from Newcastle Brown Ale's Holiday MAN-ual. Meaning it's a manual for men to get thru the holiday season. Tips include how to toast (do tell, don't tell), how gifts say a lot about how you feel about the recipient, personal attire tips (Don't wear a sweater that screams, "Look at me, I'm a walking parade float.") and the basics of hosting a party. The funniest thing, IMO, was their recommendation to include wine & liquor in any party, and not JUST serve Newcastle.

The other pages seemed to be printed off of a master book (the Man-ual) included a recipe for something called a beer-nog shooter (yes, a separated shot of beer & egg nog) and a cheese and beer fondue. The fondue DOES include both bacon and beer, and that's manly, right? I want to know, gentlemen readers, would you really make a fondue for a party at your place?

My feedback is personal, because I work in marketing, in the WOM arena, did interactive advertising for years, and still work with others who do blogger seeding now. I'm outing myself, and possibly limiting future presents of the tasty variety. I apologize to Liz in advance, and DO thank you for the free brews. I enjoyed them, and will definitely post a dedicated review.

I appreciate the sentiment, and probably even the brainstorm that took place somewhere in El Segundo to come up with the idea overall. But the name "Man-ual" strikes manly-man beer connotations for me, more like the MGD audience, not Newcastle's perceived refined, educated target. I also strongly believe that the full MAN-ual really should be living online if bloggers are to leverage it well, with the capability for links, for traffic drivers, to generate more interest from a like-minded audience of beer blog readers. It would have been much more beneficial if it had been further fleshed out. I got super busy, & didn't ask for high res images to post here, although they offered. Maybe it would have helped just to post them to a site, and let bloggers access them if they were willing?

Perhaps I am critical because I only see a small window of the whole effort. I hope the MAN-ual gets more support than this small blogger outreach. I still enjoyed Newcastle Brown Ale more than anything else in my fridge, and I PROMISE to post a dedicated review of the beer soon.