Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's Here! Howe Sound Three Beavers!

We've got about 100 liters for a start -- here's what the Vancouver Sun had to say a couple of days back:

VANCOUVER — They're cute furry Canadian icons proudly sporting gold, silver and bronze medals on a podium made of tree stumps.

They look like medal winners at some kind of wildlife hinterland Olympics but the Three Beavers are actually a clever marketing image behind today's launch of a new beer from Squamish-based Howe Sound Brewing.

The microbrewery is not an official Olympic sponsor like Molson but the timing of its latest product — just three weeks before the 2010 Olympics — is clearly no accident.

“We really wanted to celebrate Canada during the Olympics and we figured telling a tale about beavers in Canada was a very Canadian thing to do,” brewery co-owner Leslie Fenn said in an interview.

The Three Beavers Imperial Red Ale label recounts the historical importance of beavers in Canada and notes the brewery won gold, silver and bronze medals for its beers at the North American Brewers Association awards in 2007 and 2009.

Ambush marketing around the 2010 Olympics — where non-Olympic sponsors try to associate themselves with the Games — has increased recently but Fenn is confident the upstart brewery has broken no rules.

“We've been very careful not to mention the Olympics or anything like that,” she said. “I don't think we're supposed to use the term gold medal but we have won gold medals at the brewery awards so we shouldn't be expected to hide that fact.”

While Molson is the official 2010 Games brewing company, Budweiser — a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team — will host Club Bud parties at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on five nights during the Games.

Molson will no doubt monitor that situation closely to ensure Budweiser doesn't cross any Olympic marketing guidelines but Fenn doubts the Canadian brewing giant will have a problem with Howe Sound Brewing's latest product.

“We're not presenting ourselves as the Canadian beer of the Games,” she said. “We're just a small microbrewery.”

Fenn said its latest beaver-imaged brew will be promoted with street-oriented marketing featuring people in beaver suits who will show up soon around Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler.

But the only info you really need is all on the label: it's big; it's malty... and it's yummy!