Stampede Light, the brainchild of Lawrence Schwartz of Dallas, Texas, is a light beer enhanced with extra vitamins, besides the many already naturally occurring in beer. Created last year with the help of light beer guru Joe Owades (Owades passed away in December of 2005), is marketing itself as the first “vitamin” beer, whatever that means. It seems to play on the perception that most people hold, which is that beer is unhealthful. While it may be that the product churned out by the big breweries — which is loaded with many of several dozen chemicals approved by the FDA for use in beer production — is not as healthy as beer ought to be, most craft beer is made using all-natural ingredients and use very few, if any, chemical additives. Beer made in this traditional way returns beer to a time when it was considered “liquid bread” and preferable to water, since it had more nutritional value and avoided any problems with sanitation that were common in centuries past. But the perception of beer as unhealthy is a very recent phenomenon, fueled by prohibitionists, neo-prohibitionists like MADD and others, and ironically by the big breweries themselves with their questionable propaganda techniques that show their type of beer in a less than flattering light.
In recent years, all types of foods and beverages have been enhanced with herbs, patent-like medicines and the like all in an effort to market them as “health foods” or “smart foods” that are better for you than the originals. Most marketing is, of course, utter nonsense, thinly disguised propaganda whose sole mission is to separate you from your money. And to say that the science of propaganda has become more sophisticated and effective in recent decades is an understatement of immense proportions. We live in an age where propaganda is used to sell everything from toilet paper to the latest war without most people even realizing that it is indeed propaganda.
So I suppose it was inevitable that a new age “enhanced” beer would come to light, so to speak. As reported on a local television station in central Florida, WKMG Channel 6, “Schwartz said the federal government told him that he cannot claim the beer is good for drinkers and can’t list vitamins on the labels because it would be an implied health claim.” Curiously, the website also lists the calories in a bottle of Stampede Light at 112, which is actually slightly higher than Bud Light. Slashfood also had a piece today about Stampede Light, in which they also mention that regular beer already had several alphabet vitamins as well as niacin.
Here are small sampling of more places to read about beer’s health benefits:
- Beer and Health
- Beer and Health (Brewers of Canada)
- Beer and Health: Nutrient Content
- Beer May Be Good For You [BBC]
- Contents of a German Pilsener
- Good News for Beer Drinkers by Dr. Erik Skovenborg
- Health Benefits of Beer
- Secret Health Benefits of Beer
- Vitamins in Beer by Dr, Caroline Walker
- You’re Better Off with Beer
Stampede Light’s approach appears to be aimed at young, health-conscious 20-30-somethings who don’t know much about what beer tastes like nor its history. Photos on the website’s gallery show attractive men and women in clubs or on the street with a bottle in their hand. (apparently you can’t be ugly and drink this beer, or perhaps the beer itself will make you more attractive?) Mercifully, the beer is currently only available in north Texas, around the Dallas area. Enough with the new light beers, already.