I first discovered Stella Artois in the summer of 1994 while studying abroad in Cambridge England. I was 17 years old and thought I knew a lot about drinking (and everything for that matter) but was really just another “kid” who was widely mistaken. That summer I spent 31 nights in the Cambridge Dorms and despite strict non drinking rules enforced by my program, I was nearly fall down drunk on 29 of those nights.
The drink of choice that summer was Stella Artois a Belgian beer that was not sold in the US. At the time they were not incredibly well known outside of European drinking circles, but had been around since 1366, longer than the US. The beer had a great taste and i was convinced they would “kill it” in the US. So much so that upon my return I wrote a letter to the company trying to convince them to let me set up distribution rights through New York. They actually responded and told me “thank you for your interest in our great beer, but we currently have no plans to open up distribution to the states.” That was in August of 1994. Clearly that plan changed. Nowadays you find “Stella” on tap and in bottles at every bar you go to. I guess us stateside alcohol drinkers were just too valuable to pass up? I am still a big fan, though my tastes and experience in beer have grown vastly over the past 18 years.
So why am i writing about them here? While riding the subway the other day, I noticed that a 6 train car was completely draped in Stella Artois Ads. Probably not what the Brewmasters had in mind back in 1336. Anyway I snapped a couple of photos of their recent ads. I think they are completely off with their message, the content and the forum are not a connect. It’s a chalice, not a glass? Don’t love it, i mean come on! You are targeting NYC commuters who are crammed into a subterranean train going to and from work each day. I think this is a very expensive venue and a squandered opportunity. I think most people will have no idea what a Chalice is, and ever worse i don’t think they will care. I wish they would have taken a different approach, and I am fairly certain this one won’t hit the mark.
Come on Stella, you are betta than that!