Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Arvo Beer: Brew 34 & Brew 51 - Review

Arvo Beer recently came onto the Australian beer scene (by wino supremo Casella) and I was immediately sceptical of their advertising approach. It provided me with an opportunity to ponder what the guys behind Arvo were up to with their bizarre and possibly unheard of marketing strategy. I thought long and hard as to whether the whole advertising campaign was marketing genius or a rather elaborate gimmick to lure the Australian beer drinker into buying it.

Essentially, there are 2 lagers - Brew 34 and Brew 51. You buy a 6pack and get 3 of each. You buy a carton and you get 12 of each. Then we're all supposed to visit the Arvo website and vote for our favourite. Having worked my way through the best part of a full carton over the weekend I still can't decide.

I cannot tell them apart and the website didn't give me the choice to vote 'same' unsurprisingly. Could they be the same brew? Is it a hoax.....a true piece of genius?! I told you I'm sceptical. I drank 3 bottles of Brew 34's straight and then 3 bottles of Brew 51's straight and couldn't tell them apart. The next day I tried alternating...34, 51, 34, 51, 34, 51 etc etc. Again, no difference in taste. I've since mentioned my findings to KT who said the same thing. He also struggled to tell them apart. The photo above shows how very alike their appearance is too.

More importantly for me the bigger decision is - genius or gimmick?

The half of me that knows a teency weency bit about advertising is shouting "Genius!". However, the other half of me - the beer drinker - is screaming "Gimmick!" mainly because I'd rather breweries plough their cash into creating a decent brew as opposed to far-fetched marketing but, let's face it, any company needs to make money so I totally respect their business plan to shift beers off shelves and make cash. It's a business after all.

I think time will tell whether Arvo is a flash in the pan or a true stayer.

Last week, Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) announced an agreement with Casella to help their re-entry into the booming beer market next year. CCA have been legally kept out of the arena since their sale of Pacific Beverages. You can read more about it here.

The review:

That beer drinker half of me didn't dislike either of these beers. Both weigh in at 4.9% abv which is not too 'heavy' and not too 'mid'. The faint fruity aftertaste in both isn't flimsy and isn't overpowering either. These 2 big factors result in Arvo (both of 'em!) being very drinkable and very sessionable indeed. I would buy Arvo again. Perfect for that Friday night in front of the television watching footy or that long sunny weekend BBQ.
The Arvo website labels Brew 34 as being subtly malty and alludes to the hops giving hints of spice and fruit. Whilst Brew 51 is tagged as having hoppy characters and a touch of fresh fruitiness.
Regarding the online vote results, I certainly wouldn't be fussed either way. If it's Brew 34 that stays in production or Brew 51.

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