A peculiar piece of news: from 15 March Molson Coors is relaunching Caffrey’s Irish Ale with its strength reduced from 4.2% ABV to 3.8%. To publicise the relaunch, it will be sold in pubs with a scheme offering, “Buy three, get a free one next time you’re in.”
If sales of a real ale had declined as much as Caffrey’s have, it would probably be discontinued with an apologetic press release expressing regret that it was no longer viable. But as it’s a smoothflow, it is relaunched with a bribe for drinkers to buy it on their next visit to try to get them back into the Caffrey’s habit. If this liquid, steeped as it is with fake Irish tradition, was any good, such schemes would of course not be necessary.
Mega-brewers say they simply want to offer choice, but this relaunch proves that they want to change people’s drinking habits to suit their corporate strategy. People have chosen to stop drinking Caffrey’s, but this was the wrong decision and drinkers are being induced to try again until they get it right.
This whole thing is just a reworking of the old smoothflow attack on real ale, only this time repackaged with a sweetener, which means they must be desperate to get us drinking the stuff. Funny how the option of brewing decent beer never crosses their minds, isn’t it?
Picture: the staff of Caffrey’s Brewery at the opening of new premises in Belfast in 1905. Click to enlarge it in another window.