"Mmmm... Tastes Like Chicken" and Other Useless Descriptions

December 24, 2018
Two people walk into a store to try out some new IPAs. They know they like IPAs, but they don’t like the same ones. Along comes a sales person, who does her best to help them make their selections. She points to a few beers and says, “This one is a classic pale ale with a golden hue, but this one is bigger…”
The customers stand frozen with puzzled looks on their faces. What gives?
“Informative descriptions of what you offer make it easier for customers to decide,” says Ginger Johnson in her ground-breaking book, How to Market Beer to Women: Don’t Sell Me a Pink Hammer. Based on her research, Johnson knows that taking the time to educate a customer (male or female) about a beer’s flavor and avoiding words like hoppy and malty, increases sales. Telling an IPA lover that a beer is hoppy, is about as helpful as saying, “tastes like chicken”.
If you make it easier for your customers to decide, you make it easier for them to buy.
Phrases like “big beer” and “hoppy pale ale” did next to nothing to help our fictitious IPA shoppers make a purchase. They told the sales person they like different kinds of IPAs, so to help these confused shoppers buy with confidence, she should have described the taste in a way that differentiated the products. For example, some hops are piney, others taste like tropical fruit. (See side bar for more suggestions.)
The folks at Sam Adams know about taste. This is how they do it.
Samuel Adams New England Pale Ale – This hazy, mellow pale ale is brewed with five different hops delivering fruity notes of mango and peach.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager – Robust and rich, Boston Lager offers notes of caramel & toffee, with a distinct noble hop character and hints of spicy pine & citrus.
Marathon 26.2 Brew – This golden, hazy beer has a crisp body with notes of citrus and wheat. Coriander adds a slight pepper note and sea salt makes this brew thirst-quenching, with a clean finish.
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