The Rise of Bro Brew: Congratulations, Craft Beer Drinking Gentlemen — You’re Being Marketed To

In Beer News by Karl

I suppose this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. When a community grows in numbers, certain people are going to want to take advantage of those numbers.

Get ready for “bro” beer, Chicago. The Chive, as described by The Awl as “bigger than NPR, Salon, Jezebel, or The Onion” here (with numbers to back it up), is making you a beer. Well, to be specific, Redhook is brewing them a beer, and they get to slap a label on it and call it “their” beer, but who the hell can tell the difference any more.


If you’re wondering, the Resignation Brewery site just directs to a page with a KCCO logo on it and an email prompt. So it’s not like, an actual partnership with an existing craft brewery or anything. Just more marketing.

Via BrewBound:

Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) – which produces and markets the Redhook, Kona, Widmer Brothers and Omission Beer brands — today announced a new partnership with, a popular entertainment website known for featuring salacious photo galleries of scantily-clad women and humorous viral videos.

Redhook has collaborated with the website on the new ‘KCCO Black Lager,’ a 5.1 percent ABV German Schwarzbier named after theCHIVE’s abbreviated motto and popular internet hashtag “Keep CALM and CHIVE on (KCCO).” The beer will initially roll out in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles markets next month, before next before going nationwide.

Look, I always wanted to like Redhook. Their Longhammer IPA isn’t bad. And I’m not going to lie — occasionally I’ll stop in to a Buffalo Wild Wings just to scratch an itch and have a half-dozen wings after a movie or something. But if a company is actively pursuing business partners like BW3 for their “Game Changer” beer and The Chive…well, they’ve identified a market and they’re going straight after it. I’m sure they’ll make a ton of money doing so.

I can’t help but think about this piece from New York Magazine about vodka marketing — where we learn that the product doesn’t matter at all as long as you can tell a good story.

All this directs us to a larger point — the beer industry is huge. Billions of dollars huge. And if a certain segment of that market has anywhere from 5-10 percent of it, like the ever-growing craft beer segment…well, that’s a whole lot of money. Not AB-InBev or MillerCoors money, to be certain, but it’s a chunk of humans worth exploiting if you can.

The larger the craft beer industry gets, the more we’re going to have to look out for this stuff. Some of it is harmless novelty — Game of Thrones beers, Simpsons Duff beers, and the like. And this is nothing new for female drinkers — we all remember “Chick Beer“, right? But much of it will be like this — a cash grab directed at affluent yet unattentive consumers.

Prediction: Expect more of this. A lot more. Within a couple years, I expect there will be NASCAR specific beers, MMA beers — hell, I’m kinda shocked Toby Keith doesn’t have his own beer yet. Busch Light already has cases in Hunter Orange (which we kinda like the look of, actually).

Via The Beerocrat.

Via The Beerocrat.

Like we always say, drink what you like. If it’s good, then hey – drink plenty of it. But at least know what you’re drinking, and why you’re drinking it. Brewers make beer; websites don’t. (Except maybe ours, sometime soon, perhaps. Hey, you never know.)

The beer we like is made because the people who made it want us to enjoy what we drink — not because they have a hashtag, a brand, and a significant Twitter following.

Know your beer.

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About the Author


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Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Draft Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, comes out in early 2017, and if you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.