Monday’s ad is for the Nippon Brewery, from 1912. Showing a couple of Geishas on a train, with a vendor at the station offering them beer from a full basket. Through the window on the other side of the train is a large factory, which is presumably the brewery.
Here’s a hilarious marketing development, one that would absolutely never fly in the land of the free and the home of the “think about the children” neo-prohibitionists. If you’ve been the parent of a young daughter, you’re probably already familiar with the marketing juggernaut that is Hello Kitty and her legion of cute minions from Sanrio. It’s hard to think of another character with as much licensed tie-in merchandising as Hello Kitty. She makes Disney look like amateurs. So really, it should come as no surprise then, that Sanrio has licensed Hello Kitty for a series of four fruit beers, brewed by the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.. The four initial fruit beers include Peach, Passion Fruit, Banana and Lemon and come in 330 ml cans.
Bloomberg Businessweek referred to the announcement as Zen and the Art of Crass Marketing, which is surprising since I never really thought of the business press, or indeed the business world generally, as having high moral standards if there was a buck to be made. When you consider that it was big business that sank the country, and the world, into a global recession, then getting a bailout from us, while still collecting their bonuses, I have had time swallowing Bloomberg’s assertion that this is the line that business dare not cross, that this is the one going too far into crassness. If anything, this is pretty harmless and funny.
The ABC News Report is slightly more balanced, and reveals that these “new fruit-flavored cans mark Hello Kitty’s second entry into the world of alcohol. Previously, Hello Kitty wines were licensed in Asia, Europe and the United States.”
I can’t say any of them look particularly good, but one thing most news accounts overlooked is that the beer is actually only 2.3% a.b.v., making them session beers, and actually the opposite of the evil Bloomberg makes them out to be. Also, Kotaku, reviewing the beers, describes them as “closest to Chimay but with stronger fruit flavorings. The fruit isn’t a note or a sense in these beverages but instead the overpowering star of it all.” That’s hard to swallow, but then I haven’t actually tried them and it’s likely I won’t ever have the chance to, not that it will keep me up at night. Still, an odd and twisted development.
Here’s an interesting, if long, commercial for Kirin beer that features some famous martial artists. I have no idea what’s going on for most of the three-minute video, or why they count to 39 throughout the story. Luckily, you don’t have to understand it to enjoy it.
You’ve probably heard of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, and a few years ago I wrote about the newer Japanese craze of 3D paper models known as “paper craft” in Japanese Paper Beer. I just came across another one, this time it’s a paper mug of beer — called “Mr. Beer” or “Beer-Kun” — that you can download and build for yourself. If you’re looking for a project or something to do this weekend, here you go. Go to either Tamasoft or Cheek Patch to see the steps and also where you can find a link to the pdf to download as a pdf. Both websites are in Japanese but can easily be translated with the right browser.
This is what it should look like when you’re done.
After you download the zip file, print out the pdf and then carefully cut out all of the pieces. You should then have all of these separate pieces, ready to build your mug. Have fun.
I’ve had my share of beers made with odd ingredients, from pizza beer to Wynkoop’s bull testicle beer, with all manner of flowers, nuts, fruits, vegetables and tree parts in between. But this one has to take the cake. The Japanese brewery Sankt Gallen created a beer with elephant dung, which reportedly immediately sold out.
According to Drinks Business:
The beer, which is called Un, Kono Kuro, is made using coffee beans that have passed through an elephant.
The Sankt Gallen brewery called the beer a “chocolate stout,” despite it not containing any chocolate. The coffee beans used in the beer come from elephants at Thailand’s Golden Triangle Elephant Foundation, which cost over $100 per 35 grams. The beans are so expensive as 33 kgs of beans in the mouth yields 1 kg of useable coffee beans.
According to another source, International Science Times, the beer “utilizes the flavor of Black Ivory Coffee, a variety of your morning brew that retails for about $500 per pound because the beans are harvested from elephant poop. And by “harvested” we mean picked out of a big pile of dung and rinsed off. The elephant poop beer uses the coffee beans to enhance the flavor in its coffee stout.” They continue.
Un, Kono Kuro is a pun on “unko” which is the Japanese word for “crap,” a fitting name indeed for elephant poop coffee. Although the elephant poop beer was a sales success, don’t expect it hit shelves anytime soon. The brewer, Sankt Gallen, isn’t adding it to their regular line-up. It’s not cheap beer, either; the retail value of a keg of Un, Kono Kuro is around $1100.
So apparently it’s pretty popular. At least one reviewer said it wasn’t bad, saying “there was an initial bitterness that got washed over by a wave of sweetness. Following that, a mellow body rolled in and spread out through my mouth.” Still, this may be going too far. What do you think?
I tend to view the concept of ice plus beer with horror, but apparently in Japan it’s “so cool.” That’s at least the opinion of Kirin, whose uncharacteristically low-tech commercial make the case for its coolness. The verdict? The ad: pretty cool. Ice plus beer: not cool.