I stumbled on the photo of a peculiar beer below while looking for another image. It was on Holy Taco, a humor website as far as I can tell.
Best I could find out is that it’s a Japanese beer made by what appears to be a fairly large global food and drinks company called SC Foods Co., Ltd. The beer is called U.S. Select Beer Taste and is fairly resplendent with patriotic imagery from using a red, white and blue palette to the U.S. flag, an outline of the lower 48 and even part of the Statue of Liberty.
It’s certainly an odd duck. But what fascinates me most is wondering what it tastes like. I mean that in an abstract sense. I know in reality it’s likely a clone of a tasteless American-style macro lager or similar low-calorie light beer. Or is it? What is the perception of the “select beer taste of the U.S.?” Is is still the former big three, or has craft beer managed to upstage that as an antiquated image of American beer?
I also can’t help but wonder, if it is an American light lager, why? The three major brands in Japan — Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo — aren’t substantially different from Bud, Miller or Coors. So if you’re going to label it U.S. Select Beer Taste, then it has to mean something to the intended consumer, which appears to be the Japanese. They have to perceive it as being something different than their own beer, don’t they? And if so, then doesn’t it follow that U.S. Select Beer Taste might be more craft-oriented in taste? It wouldn’t taste like a German, Belgian, Czech or English import. Sadly, I couldn’t find any ratings for the beer on either Beer Advocate of Rate Beer, so I don’t really know if it’s more Dale’s Pale Ale than Bud Light.
So what exactly is American Beer’s Taste perception in Japan and around the world? Among brewers and the über beer geeks certainly our reputation for quality is unsurpassed and the craft industry has staged a remarkable comeback for American beer since the low point of the 1970s. But that’s among the small, niche customer for whom beer matters. To the general consumer, I’m not so sure. Budweiser and Coors both sell surprisingly well in Great Britain and Bud is even making modest progress in Germany. What do you think U.S. Select Beer Taste is?