Light, and sometimes mixed

It started with Chris Hansen posting this London bus ad on Facebook:


On the bus:



So: about the morphology; about the advertising tactic; and about the beer.

Emily Rizzo then threw this into the mix:


with chelada (a variant of michelada), a type of beer cocktail — that is, a mixed drink with beer as one of its ingredients.

smoothify ‘make smooth‘. From my 8/28/11 posting “Pepsification”, about –ify, deriving V from N or Adj, used in PepsiCo ads in the Vs drinkify and snackify:

A whole lotta ification going on.

Innovations in -ify tend to be playful, ostentatious, or deliberately “creative” — so they’re noticeable, which makes them good in the advertising world.

The posting provides a collection of  innovative –ify examples, many from N, but also nastification and distinctifying ‘differentiation’ from Adj and some examples that could be from Adj or N, like queerify. And the Quinion Affixes site has the ostentatiously humorous examples trendify ‘to make trendy or fashionable’, cutify < cute, and uglify < ugly. The Bud Light smoothified, PSP of jocular smoothify ‘make smooth’, is right in this tradition.

The ad strategy. After the ostentatious smoothified, the ad goes on to be boastfully American — we can do whatever we want — thereby playing self-mockingly on British stereotypes of Americans. As it happens, the current ad campaign is not just an introduction of Bud Light in the UK, but a reintroduction. From Marketing Week on 2/24/17:

Don’t call it a comeback: Bud Light re-enters the UK market after 16 years away

Bud Light is being relaunched in the UK, 16 years after the last attempt ended in failure.

The ad campaign includes a video of the Budweiser frogs croaking Bud, light, and beer — a re-doing of the famous frog ad, which you can watch here. From Wikipedia:

The Budweiser Frogs are three lifelike puppet frogs named “Bud”, “Weis”, and “Er”, who began appearing in American television commercials for Budweiser beer during Super Bowl XXIX in 1995.

We’ll see how the campaign works this time.

The beer. From Wikipedia:

Budweiser is an American-style pale lager produced by Anheuser-Busch, currently part of the multinational corporation Anheuser-Busch InBev. Introduced in 1876 by Carl Conrad & Co. of St. Louis, Missouri, it has grown to become one of the highest selling beers in the United States, and is available in over 80 markets worldwide — though, due to a trademark dispute, does not necessarily do so under the Budweiser name. It is made with up to 30% rice in addition to hops and barley malt.

… Some drinkers prefer the lightness of beers like Budweiser and consume it as a refreshment or for its inebriating effects. Several beer writers consider it to be bland. The beer is light-bodied with faint sweet notes and negligible bitterness, leading to reviews characterizing it as a “…beer of underwhelming blandness.” Even Adolphus Busch disliked the beer he marketed in the United States. But based upon sales alone, it became the second most popular American brewed pale lager among North American beer consumers. [In 2009, the top beer brands by market share were Bud Light (28.3%), Budweiser (11.9%) and Coors Light (9.9%).]

Budweiser has a 5% alcohol content and 145 calories per 12 fl. oz.; Bud Light has 4.2% and 110 calories.

Despite widespread complaints about the blandness of Budweiser and Bud Light (echoed in comments on the Facebook posting), these beers sell fabulously well in the US. (I find both Budweuser and Bud Light unacceptable, but then the only beers I drink in the US are dark German beers, and when I lived n the UK I drank bitter.) There are many more flavorful beers in the US, but they’re mostly made by smaller breweries, which are now threatened by mergers of big beer companies with big alcohol distributors.

A brief summary of the UK stuation, from Wikipedia (lightly edited):

Beer in the United Kingdom has a long history, and has quite distinct traditions [in different regions]. Historically the main styles were top-fermented bitters, porters, stouts and milds, but after World War II lagers took over half the market by volume. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was founded in 1971 and has encouraged the preservation and revival of traditional styles of ale.

Despite CAMRA’s efforts, lagers — including American pale lagers like Budweiser — continue to sell well, so the re-introduction of Bud Light might well find a receptive audience.

Beer cocktails. In particular, American “red beer” made with tomato juice, American lager, and worcestershire sauce, and the Mexican michelada. From Wikipedia (crucial bit boldfaced): the michelada is

made with beer, lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. It is served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass. There are numerous variations of this beverage throughout Mexico and Latin America.

There are a variety of types of micheladas. For example, clamato contains clam juice and tomato juice. A chelada contains simply lime and originally sea salt, but often simply regular table salt. A cubana contains Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, chile, and salt. Depending on the region of Mexico, the preparation will vary. For people unfamiliar with the local area, it is best to ask how micheladas are prepared before ordering if there is concern for what ingredients will be used. In some regions a chelada is a michelada, and vice versa.

There are two popular versions of the origin and etymology of the michelada.

One concerns a Michel Ésper at Club Deportivo Potosino in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Ésper used to ask for his beer with lime, salt, ice, and a straw, in a special cup called “chabela”, as if it were a beer lemonade. The members of the club started asking for beer as “Michel’s lemonade”, with the name shortening over time to michelada. As time went by, other sauces were added to the original recipe. Today, it contains the same ingredients as a chelada but contains ice and chili powder on the rim.

Another etymology states that michelada is a portmanteau of mi chela helada. The word chela is a popular term for a beer in Mexico. When you ask for a chela, you are asking for a cold beer; therefore the phrase mi chela helada means “my ice cold beer”.

[Both etymologies sound dubious.]

In the 2010s, major U.S. beer producers began marketing cervezas preparadas, illustrating the wide variety of recipes in the chelada/michelada category and meeting its popularity among the country’s Latin American population. For example, Miller Brewing Company produces Miller Chill, a “Chelada-style light lager with a hint of salt and lime”. Anheuser-Busch makes Budweiser Chelada and Bud Light Chelada, a combination of lager, clamato, lime juice, and salt. As of 2012, Tecate now offers a michelada flavored with lime and spices. In 2015,Cervecería Centro Americana, a Guatemalan Brewery, released a Michelada under the trade name Dorada Draft Michelada Chiltepe. The beverage is spiced with chipotle peppers, the most widely used peppers in the region.

Alternatively, many consumers are known to use Bloody Mary mix or similar pre-made mixes with lager to make micheladas.

The michelada is just one type of beer cocktail. The Wikipedia article on this family of drinks has a fairly long list of named beer cocktails, which I post here in full because of the wonderful names:

A beer cocktail is a cocktail that is made by mixing beer with a distilled beverage or another style of beer. In this type of cocktail, the primary ingredient is beer. A mixture of beer with a beverage that contains a soft drink is usually called a shandy.

List of beer cocktails:

Black and Tan [the nickname given to the brutal British paramilitary force, largely made up of English WWI veterans, formed to suppress the Irish Independence movement in 1920 and 1921; consequently, the drink is not to be ordered in Ireland] – Made from a blend of pale ale and a dark beer such as a stout or porter. Traditionally uses bitter and stout.

Black Velvet – Stout with some sparkling wine or champagne. Cheap version uses cider and stout.

Boilermaker – Mild ale mixed with bottled brown ale or in the US a glass of beer with a shot of whiskey

Brass Monkey – Beverage created by adding orange juice to a partially drunk 40 ounce [beer]. Named after the Beastie Boys song although disputed whether this is the drink referred to in the song.

Coronarita [note portmanteau] – Overturned Corona [beer] bottle draining into a margarita

Clam Pint – Lager with clamato. Occasionally served premixed or with the Clamato in a sidecar for the customer to add. Popular in Western Canada

Dog’s Nose – Beer and gin, referred to in Tom Sharpe’s book Grantchester Grind

Flaming Doctor Pepper – Flaming drink made from beer, high-proof alcohol and Amaretto [liqueur]. Tastes like Dr Pepper.

Hangman’s Blood – Porter combined with brandy, gin, and rum

Irish Car Bomb – Irish stout with a mixed shot of Irish cream [liqueur] and Irish whiskey

Michelada – Beer mixed with lemon juice, salt, Worcestershire sauce, Valentina and Maggi hot sauces

Micky Mouse – Equal parts of lager and bitter

Porchcrawler – Equal parts of beer, vodka, and lemonade concentrate.

Red Eye – Beer, Clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper.

Sake bomb – Shot of sake poured or dropped into a glass of beer.

Snakebite – Equal parts of lager and cider

Tom Bass – Bass ale with a shot of Jägermeister served in a pint glass

U-Boot [Gm. ‘submarine’] – Glass of beer with a shot glass containing vodka “submerged” in it

This list includes a number of beer cocktails in which a small glass of one drink is submerged in or dropped into a larger glass of another drink. There are two intersecting drink categories here: beer cocktails and bomb shots / depth charges. Wikipedia on the latter, again with a long and fascinating list of named examples:

A bomb shot, or depth charge, is a mixed drink that is made by mixing two drinks. A drink in a small glass (typically a shot glass) is dropped into a larger glass holding a different drink. The resulting cocktail is typically consumed as quickly as possible (“chugged”). Recently, the term has become more loosely defined as simply a shot that is made by mixing two drinks.

A bomb shot typically consists of a shot glass of hard liquor that is dropped into a glass partially filled with beer but sometimes with some other beverage. Many variations exist. When the shot is dropped into a superpint it is commonly known as a “Depth Charge,” because it resembles the anti-submarine weapon being dropped on a target.

Examples of popular bomb shots include:

The classic Boilermaker: a shot of whisky dropped into beer

Barrel Bomb: in reference to the improvised weapon of the same name, a Barrel Bomb consists of a shot of red Aftershock [a cinnamon liqueur] dropped into Red Bull [caffeinated energy drink]. The red Aftershock represents the blast of the aforementioned weapon’s explosion and also blood spilled. Served in a highball glass reminiscent of the cylinders used to make a barrel bomb.

Claymore Mine: a shot of Bacardi 151 [rum] or Everclear grain alcohol dropped into a glass containing a fruity, sugary drink, typically a Sex On the Beach

Flaming Doctor Pepper: a shot of Amaretto [almond-flavored liqueur] and Bacardi 151 which is lit on fire and dropped into beer

Jägerbomb: a shot of Jägermeister [high-alcohol herbal digestif] dropped into a glass containing an energy drink. Likewise, the F-Bomb — Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and Red Bull.

Irish Car Bomb: a shot glass containing 1/2 Irish Cream [liqueur based on Irish whiskey] and 1/2 Irish whiskey dropped into Guinness stout

Sake bomb: a shot of sake dropped into beer

Skittle Bomb: a shot of Cointreau [orange-flavored liqueur] dropped into a glass containing an energy drink

Hand Grenade: Two shots, One of tequila, one of Jägermeister, carefully balanced against each other over a tumbler of energy drink. The tequila is then ‘pulled’ as the pin and drunk allowing the Jägermeister to fall into the tumbler creating a Jägerbomb which is then to be consumed immediately after.

Elephant on a Table: A shot of Amarula [South African liqueur made from sugar, cream, and the fruit of the marula tree] dropped into a half pint of Tafel Lager. A Windhoek speciality.

Cider Bomb: A shot of Jägermeister is dropped into a glass of apple cider.

Drop Bear: An Australia-specific bomb shot where a shot of Bundaberg Rum is dropped into a glass of Victoria Bitter. Named both for the iconic drop bear of Australian legend [a mythical predatory carnivorous version of the koala], and because the label of Bundaberg Rum [has a polar bear on it].

Magic eye: Central-European drink where a shot of Crème de Menthe [mint-flavored liqueur] is dropped into beer, usually staying consistent and forming [a  green “eye” inside the beer glass.

Haggis Bomb [reference to haggis as a characteristically Scottish food]: a shot of Jägermeister dropped into a glass containing Irn Bru [Scottish carbonated soft drink].

Bucky Bomb: a shot of Buckfast Tonic Wine dropped into a glass containing energy drink.

One Response to “Light, and sometimes mixed”

  1. chrishansenhome Says:

    Just a footnote: The ad has been on buses for a couple of months. I have never had the combination of iPhone to hand and bus on the street long enough to take a picture. I took it from the bus shelter on the corner of the New Kent Road and Elephant Road.

    I don’t believe that “light” beers in general will be attractive to British drinkers. There may be a bit of take-up by US expats (there are around 150,000 in the United Kingdom) who liked the stuff when they were in the US. For most UK-bred beer drinkers, lager is already “light” enough for them.

    I don’t believe that any of the other mixtures you mention will even be tried here. Clamato is unknown here (thank goodness) and in general beer-mixed drinks aren’t popular (as far as I know). I haven’t been able to drink beer for 10+ years due to its carb content, so I won’t be buying any in any case.

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