The Brew Site

Alexander Keith’s and virtual beer tasting

This week I received three beers plus a pint glass representing Canadian brewery Alexander Keith’s (Canadian webpage here) new push into the U.S. market. Keith’s was founded in Nova Scotia in 1820 and though it’s been available in Canada since that time, this is the first time that the Keith’s line-up is being made commercially available here as well. To kick off their campaign, Keith’s also held a “virtual tasting” and live video introduction on their Facebook page: a live video stream of the brewmaster introducing the three beers, tasting and offering his notes on them, and fielding questions submitted via live chat.

So let’s cover a little additional disclosure regarding these beers: though based in Canada, the overall company is in fact owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev (via Labatt) and these three beers are being brewed in the U.S. at A-B’s brewery in Baldwinsville, New York. And I haven’t open any of them up yet to taste and review them.

That being said, I think the Facebook “virtual tasting” and live chat was extremely well-done and smart idea in this age of “new media” and internet marketing. The video feed worked well, it wasn’t too polished or over-produced (having a better grassroots feel to it), brewmaster Graham Kendall was interesting and engaging and he answered quite a lot of the live chat questions that came in—even the inevitable ones about Anheuser-Busch, extreme beers, and so on, which I think he answered very well.

I’d like to see this sort of virtual tasting done more often, though frankly it may still be the purview of big marketing budgets only (although there’s really no budget required for a webcam-equipped laptop running Skype).

As to the beer, I’ll report as I taste them myself (I didn’t taste along with the virtual tasting as we had a end-of-year school function to attend). The three beers look to be fairly straightforward, mainstream styles to enter the market with, so there shouldn’t be any surprises.