It’s been a while since I’ve posted to BeerMatt and there are a lot of reasons for that, mainly I’ve been flat out. But I just received my “What’s Brewing” newsletter from my old friends DB Breweries (you can read about them here, here, here and here.) and, there’s nothing like low-carb beer to get me writing.
What caught my eye was the headline, “Health conscious beer increases popularity.”
Why this struck me is that I remember earlier this year an Australian academic caused a kerfuffle when he suggested that low-carb beers are an “insidious health risk” because they are marketed as a healthy option and may actually encourage people to drink more.
“Nooooooo,” howled the brewing industry when this claim was made. “We don’t market these beers as being healthy, we’re not allowed to do that.”
“ ‘Low carb’ is just a statement of fact, there’s nothing on the bottle to suggest that the beers are healthy.”
But then in their newsletter, DB Breweries are calling it a ‘health conscious beer’.
Read the whole thing and tell me if you’re left with the impression that this is beer is healthier for you. It never actually says that and I am sure that DB Breweries have had a team of lawyers go over the wording of the and to make sure that it doesn’t actually cross the line – but its toes are right up on the line and its shadow extends three feet across it.
Look closely and it’s like one of the old Mad Magazine fold-ins, make “A” meet “B” and something else emerges.
The key elements are:
- It’s a health conscious beer
- It’s aim is not to add to growing beer bellies
- It is brewed 33% longer than standard beer to remove unwanted sugars and reduce the beer’s level of carbohydrates
- The beer is meeting a growing consumer demand among New Zealanders who are increasingly conscious of the way they look and feel
- “More and more Kiwis love beer but naturally they’re not so fond of beer bellies!” “Export 33 is full strength, full flavour and low carb so now you can enjoy beer that is less filling without a taste trade-off.”
The last is the clincher. Notice how cleverly the first and second sentences of the last point are non sequiturs. It looks like they logically follow, but they don’t. “Kiwis don’t want beer bellies”. “Our beer is low-carb and less filling.” The latter doesn’t actually relate to the former, and DB can’t be said to be saying their beer is healthy, although the objective is quite clearly to make the connection between low-carbs and avoiding a beer belly – or else, why put out the media release?
In fact, according to DB’s own website, the difference in kilojoules (the energy provided by the alcohol and carbs in the beer that, if unused by the body, causes weight gain) between this ‘health conscious beer’ (425 kilojoules) and DB Draught (462) is 37 kilojoules or roughly half of one percent of a daily intake of 8000 kilojoules. A mouthful of your second bottle and you’ve consumed the same calories as their regular draught beer. The difference is the same is two rice crackers – the plain, not flavoured version.
As ever, if you enjoy Export 33 – or any other beer for its flavour – drink up and enjoy, that’s the whole purpose of beer after all. But if you drink Export 33 because you’re trying to avoid a beer gut or you consider it to be a ‘health conscious beer’, you are every bit as gullible as DB Breweries hope you are.
Oh, and send me your bank account details – I have US$5,000,000 that we can split….