So if you haven’t seen the ad campaign put out by Cape Town’s newest brewery, Garagista Beer Co., you really should do that before you carry on reading. It was picked up by advertising journals and sites around the world and provoked a fair amount of debate. Watch the video ad, check out the very clever print ads and read what people were saying about the campaign when it was featured on AdWeek.com.
Many people made the same comment – that it was an ad doing exactly what it said it wasn’t. General consensus is that it was a campaign squarely aimed at hipsters, and I think that was a tongue-in-cheek part of their advertising. But I’m actually one of those people who really does drink beer for the flavour, not for my image. I actually wanted this new brewery to really be about the beer and not the bullshit. But is it?
When you base your brewhouse in a Woodstock art gallery, it’s pretty clear who your market is, so hopefully the drainpipe jean-wearing, floppy hat-toting, harmonica playing clientele who ride past the brewery on their one-speed bikes didn’t take too much offence from the ads.
According to brewer Steve Miller, Garagista’s launch beer, a pale ale, is aimed at the lager drinking crowd. It’s designed to be easy drinking and not too taxing on the palate – you can read my review of the beer here. When it comes to the ethos, I’m not entirely convince that it’s all about the beer. Steve is enthusiastic about his new enterprise, but is he a passionate beer geek out to make the best beer money can buy? With solid plans to use adjuncts in future brews, I’m not entirely sure.
But one thing is for sure, the marketing geniuses (and whether you loved or loathed the campaign, the fact that it was being commented on around the globe proves that it really was pretty damn successful) behind Garagista’s pre-launch have brought a lot of exposure to the South African craft beer industry – and that has to be a good thing.