Possibly the strangest beer ad

By BeertownNZ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 National

We’d argue this is one of the strangest beers ads in the world, and you’ll possibly agree.

Monteith’s Pointers pale ale has been plugged in ads and billboards over winter.

“At Monteith’s we chose to take on the challenge of creating the most drinkable pale ale possible, with a distinctively cloudy yet golden complexion and tropical fruit aromas. New Pointers pale ale. We’d argue that it’s the most drinkable pale ale in the world, and international beer judges possibly agree. It just won gold.”

Possibly agree? What judges? What gold? Faint praise, Monteith's.

Zoom in on that TV commercial and you’ll see a gold medal from Monde Selection. The usually-savvy Beertown.NZ hadn’t heard of this competition, and so I contacted Monde Selection to learn more. And, because Monde Selection doesn’t publish its results online, I asked for a copy of them too. I also asked Monteith’s brewer DB about the award and the ad.

The competition is the 55th World Selection 2016 of Beers, Waters, Soft Drinks and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Monde Selection is a private quality rating business based in Belgium.

“Founded in 1961, Monde Selection’s mission is to test consumer products and grant them a bronze, silver, gold or grand gold quality award. This quality label, awarded by a totally independent professional jury, offers the consumer and the producer numerous advantages. No less than 3160 products, coming from over 82 different countries, are tested each year in the following categories: Spirits & Liqueurs; Beers, Waters & Soft Drinks; Food Products; Diet & Health products; Cosmetics & Toiletries; International Wine Contest (patronised by the OIV).”

Monde Selection is not a specialised beer competition in the same type as the World Beer Cup, Australian International Beer Awards, New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards, or even the SOBA National Home Brew Competition. For one thing, the beer category is part of a wider beverages competition that includes soft drinks and water. For another, it doesn’t use style guidelines.

DB’s Simon Smith: “There are no differing categories as the judges are assessing the quality, and do so by, analysing and taste testing brews alongside each other. Their aim is to detect any quality faults, in taste, clarity and foam for example; and any of which would mean you fail to get any rating.”

And Pointers Pale Ale certainly did get a rating, a Gold Award in fact. But the Gold Award is not the top prize in Monde Selection. This year’s event gave out more than 200 Gold Awards, and 77 Grand Gold Awards, 4 Jury Prize Nominations, and one Winner – Dagon Extra Strong Beer from Myanmar.

There’s another reason for DB’s uncertainty about the “judges possibly agree” thing. DB entered three beers this year – Heineken Light, Pointers Pale Ale and Monteith's Red IPA. Heineken Light and Pointers each won a Gold, and Monteith’s Red IPA won a Grand Gold.

Whatever the international beer judges possibly agree, they do agree it wasn’t the best beer in the competition, it wasn’t even the best Monteith's beer there.

But you have to hand it to Monteith's for being bang on-trend with beer styles – Pointers “distinctively cloudy yet golden complexion and tropical fruit aromas” came out months before Garage Project’s Party & Bullshit cloudy IPA made such a huha at last month’s West Coast IPA Challenge.

Here’s Simon Smith’s reply in full:

As requested here is an explanation on the Monde Selection awards, and process and the different promotion of our brands
Both our new Monteith’s Brewer’s Series RIPA Red IPA and Monteith’s Pointers Pale Ale recently won Monde Selection Awards.
The Monde Selection are internationally renowned quality awards. Within their evaluation of beers, Monde Selection count on the collaboration of the best experts in their respective fields, most of whom are lecturers and chemical engineers which has been a devoted partner of Monde Selection for many years. There are no differing categories as the judges are assessing the quality, and do so by, analysing and taste testing brews alongside each other. Their aim is to detect any quality faults, in taste, clarity and foam for example; and any of which would mean you fail to get any rating.
Both our Monteith’s brews, succeeded on all fronts. The Monteith’s Brewer’s Series Red IPA was considered a best in class picking up a Grand Gold Award, with an incredible average score of between 90-100%. Our Monteith’s Pointers Pale Ale was also considered excellent as it received an average score of between 80-89%.
Entering the Monde Selection beer awards is used as an important yardstick to gauge how your beer quality compares globally.
We are extremely proud of both our Monteith’s Brewer’s Series Red IPA and Monteith’s Pointers Pale Ale, and we’re putting our weight behind them both with targeted support.
As Pale Ales are a popular beer style and are seen as the cornerstone of craft breweries our Monteiths’ team have decided to place more of an emphasis on our Monteith’s Pointers Pale Ale. This is purely done as there is currently a growing trend within Pale Ales and we see there is a much greater opportunity in this style, especially as those looking to ‘dabble’ in the craft arena will choose a Pale Ale as alternative to a Lager or Pilsner.
Red IPA as a beer style is still emerging, although this style seems to be becoming more prevalent and we have noticed an increase of Red IPA’s on shelf recently.
We’ve supported Monteith’s Brewer’s Series RIPA Red IPA with an up weighted PR campaign which has since achieved a laudable triumph by featuring in Air New Zealand KiaOra magazine last month (June), this has in-turn driven interest in not only our Monteith’s RIPA Red IPA, but the style of Red IPA’s.
By BeertownNZ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 National