September 19, 2013
Founders Brewery Channels Apple in Tear jerking Video
Have you ever seen a beer commercial that made you cry?
Then how about this one?
Founders Brewery was founded in 1997 by some homebrewing nerds fresh out of college. It was originally called Canal Street Brewing, but thanks to a picture on their labels, the name “Founders” stuck.
As the popularity of American craft beer has been booming like Texas Oil, Founders has been able to ride the wave and expand their distribution to points all across the nation. Their beers receive high praise and are widely accepted and embraced as some of the best in America, but apparently it wasn’t always that way. In a very touching video (and a brilliant marketing campaign), the founders of Founders Brewery share a bit of their story with every ounce of emotional appeal normally reserved for Apple product commercials.
The video starts with the sun setting over gently rolling waves, just an absolute perfect beginning to anything that’s likely to make you misty. Then after less than a minute of slow pans across taps, stacks of cans and the brewhouse, you hear about a death in the family, pending bankruptcy and a figurative fork in the road.
“It took us till we got pushed to the point of bankruptcy when we realized if we’re going to go down, we’re going to do it on our own terms. We’re going to do this our way,” explains cofounder Dave Engbers in the video.
The next shot is a pair of bare feet running in slow motion along the beach, a hand holding up a flare in the middle of the night, and a brewer walking through a forest of kettles as the screen fades to black.
And the thing’s not even half way over.
There’s plenty in this video that seems sort of apropos of nothing. What does a person running on the beach have to do with beer? Why is the person aiming a flare towards the sky? And just where the hell is that brewer going?
Later in the video a chef, a drummer and a photographer are shown explaining why they love Founders beer as they work at their respective occupations in glorious and tear-jerking slow motion. It all works though. I get it. These are the kind of people who have to do things their own way, much like a brewer.
Or rather, much like a Founders brewer.
Running barefoot through the sand is pretty individualistic, pretty wild and carefree. And so is firing a flare into the air, come to think of it.
That might actually be illegal in some states.
Yet as a person who loves craft beer, I didn’t mind the overhanded emotional overtones in the video because, dammit, even at 9 AM (when I first saw the video) I was ready for a good beer after watching it.
It’s powerful, it’s moving, and it sets the brewery up as the blue collar, bootstrapping, individualistic “I don’t give a damn” kind of business we’ve all come to expect American breweries to be, especially those from the Midwest.
These days, craft breweries are looking for any way they can to either differentiate themselves or do something new and “innovative” with beer.
This is hard to do, especially considering beer has been around for centuries and with the exception of artsy, culinary ingredients, has been left mostly unchanged.
I think Founders got it right with this one. Beer is individualistic, it’s blue collar, it’s bold, but it’s willing to be shared by everyone. It takes a special kind of person to enjoy a good craft beer, and Founders has set themselves up as the brewery to deliver this beer to these people.
As they say in the video, it is beer “Brewed For Us.”
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com