Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jupiler Blue

I’m a great fan of Brussels, and I enjoy living here. Still, there is one thing that’s been bothering me for quite a while about the city: Manneken Pis.

Isn’t time for all of us residents to say loud and clear that a statue of a little boy pissing is neither cute nor clever and that to make it the symbol of this fine city is an embarrassment?

I don’t really care if it is supposedly 400 years old. First, the statue everyone sees is not exactly ancient: it’s a replica dating back to 1965. Second, even if the idea started in the 17th century, it was hardly an original concept for a statue at that time. It’s certainly not unique to Brussels, and it has little if any artistic value.

It may be on the general tourist trail for those who visit the city because some uncreative guidebook writers couldn’t be bothered to look around for more interesting sites. However, it is not a “tourist attraction” in any true sense: no one comes here for piss-boy.

And when visitors see it, they can only ever be underwhelmed. “That’s it?” is the most common response, and indeed, that’s the kindest reaction one can have. No matter what doll’s dress its keepers have wrapped it up in that day, it’s still just a statue of a kid peeing.

I mean, sure, I appreciate toilet humour as much as anyone, but Manneken Pis is just a tired, old bad joke.

Anyway, staying with the subject of urine-related public embarrassments, we come to today’s beer: Jupiler Blue.

The marketing proclaims: “Le vrai goût et charactère de Jupiler avec seulement 3,3% d'alcool” (The real taste and character of Jupiler with only 3.3% alcohol) as if that might convince anyone.

Blue is in fact watery and tasteless, and it’s worse than regular old Jupiler, which is itself pretty bad. The only good thing you can say about Jupiler Blue is that it’s one step up from Jupiler Force, but that’s not saying much, as Force isn’t even technically a beer.

It’s always amazing to me that an international brewing powerhouse like Anheuser–Busch InBev dedicates so much financial backing in development and marketing for products like Jupiler Force and Jupiler Blue rather than, say, directing their efforts towards making a product that tastes like something someone might actually want to drink. Quite simply, why damage your reputation with these joke brands?

It's a similar question Brussels faces re Manneken Pis.

6 comments:

  1. Isn't Jupiler the best-selling beer in Belgium? Seems to me lots of people actually want to drink it.

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  2. Jupiler is the best-selling beer here (or near the top anyway, though not high on my list), but that's kind of my point: why damage the reputation of that successful brand by promoting things like Jupiler Force and Jupiler Blue?

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  3. Ah, sorry, I thought you were including plain Jupiler in that.

    It's a peculiar sort of logic, but brand extension does seem to work more often than it fails. I don't see Bud Light going anywhere, for instance.

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  4. True enough about Bud Light... Sad, but true.

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  5. If you want to drink something else than Jupiler blue, just in front of the manneken pis, I advise the "Poechenellekelder"... You will find some nice beers in a nice place (with a lot of old puppets) : Brasserie de la Senne, Old Orval,...

    Greg

    Just to improve your "niveau de français": "caractère" don't have a "h" after the c... ;-)

    a+

    Greg

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  6. Argh! And that's not even a problem of my French ability so much as my ability to copy letters correctly! Terrible!

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