June 15, 2011

Pacifico - Adventures on Tap

A Monday or two ago at the beginning of June, we were invited to an event kicking off the introduction of Pacifico on draft. In and of itself, that wouldn't be very interesting, but there is more to the story. In an earlier post, I discussed my thoughts on Pacifico and full disclosures on what was offered to us. I also outlined my expectations and what I hoped to learn. If you are experiencing any cognitive dissonance about why we're writing about this, then you need to go read that.

Without any prior knowledge, it would have been easy for me to imagine this sort of affair would have been staffed by spokes-models in tight shorts and revealing tops with double-entendre slogans about lemons. After all this is a lifestyle beer* and we do live in the age of Breastaurants.

You're with me on this, right? Hypothetically this could have been a private event at a Dos Gringo Trailer Park, with beer chicas handing out free bottle openers, pouring us up a coldie and a nudging us over to the lime wedge station for an education on "rimology". Perhaps there would be a green screen surfing video booth with up-link to facebook. That certainly would have been by the book.

It wasn't that. And thank you, Pacifico for not falling into that trap.

It was low-key. I don't think you would have guessed it was a promotion for anything other than a good time featuring live local artitsts, a DJ and freshly prepared food. I counted perhaps 3 people wearing any Pacifico gear. This was a house party BBQ on Roosevelt.

I spoke first with Joshua, who identified himself as the copywriter that came up with the campaign. A copywriter in the marketing world is one who writes things to spur others to action. Based on the turnout, he did a great job. The campaign consists of the Adventures on Tap team travelling through the 5 cities where Pacifico on tap will be introduced. Music, food, art and exploring the local community were all critical pieces in the series of events. Each city will be chronicled by an artist using a Sankey keg as their canvas.

Brooke Grucella will be working on the keg representing Phoenix. She is a craft beer aficionado based in Tucson who enjoys a Mexican beer now and again. She's experimented with the kegs and is really excited about the project and using stainless steel as a medium. Look for a possible project from her in conjunction with ASH in the not too distant future. We'll let you know when her keg is completed.

Unfortunately, almost all of the video we shot was dark. But you can see the group mural painted with Lalo Cota and Joshua Rhodes. Watching these artists work, listening to the DJ and the outstanding street tacos held our attention and kept us out late on a school night.

For some beer value, I sought out Steve from Crown Importers based in Chicago. We discussed  the duopoly that is Mexican Beer and what Pacifico on tap hopes to accomplish. Essentially every major brand out of Mexico has been subsumed by either FEMSA (Dos Equis, Tecate) or Grupo Modelo (Corona, Pacifico, Modelo).  He didn't see Pacifico vying for any craft or local beer handles in Phoenix, but we did talk about recent craft entrants into the Mexican import market space like Ska Mexican Logger and Big Sky Mexican Lager.

Overall, it was a great event that probably wasn't a budget breaker. I hope to see other breweries take note on how they can better work more people into the beer community. I suspect that since craft competes on flavor, they often ignore other aspects of the experience of enjoying beer.  This is really a shame, because there is so much more history and tradition that craft breweries can pass along.

*Lifestyle beer- a beer that doesn't compete on flavor. These beers compete on image, association with sports, exotic locale, gimmicky packaging (vortex, blue mountains), or other non-flavor components (cold).


  1. Good post. So why aren't more Mexican beers on tap in the U.S.? Are they just not manufactured in kegs? Wishing we could get Pacifico on tap here in Pittsburgh!

  2. That's a good question. I'm not sure I have an answer. I'll speculate that Mexican beer's entry into the US has been traditionally through small restaurants. Typically restaurants like this do not have draft beer.