You Just Can’t Put Canada in a Bottle

If you are going to play on patriotism, perhaps it is best to stay at home.

Recently, brewing giant Molson Coors Brewing Company announced that it was writing off the entire brand value of Molson in the United States.

The move, seen as a financial one, could have symbolic implications as well. The Molson brands of Canadian beer were thought by the brewer to be beacons of Canadiana – a product that could be bought and sold the world over as an icon of Canadian culture.

After a couple rough years abroad, the Coors/Molson merger was supposed to be a measure that would grow the Canadian brand in the United States and beyond. Instead, the brand has now been deemed worthless in the States in the wake of high freight costs and staggering packaging expenses.

Another Canadian brewer, Labatt (owned by the Belgian brewery giant known as InBev), has had similar trouble growing its Canadian brands but seem to be holding volume better than its northern counterparts.

Could this not have been foreseen? Of course these major players in the world’s largest beer market are going to put the emphasis of their marketing dollars on their own brands first. Apparently, a strategy of “The Canucks love beer and you will too,” doesn’t hold much water when it comes down to purchase time.

Of course, marketing an ideal with which to align your product is good marketing … if the ideal is something that interests consumers.

Here at the Yukon Brewing Company, it is a poorly kept secret that we align ourselves with the mystique of the Yukon Territory. We brew beer for those who love the mystery and the wide open spaces the Yukon offers.

Folks from elsewhere are curious about the mystique of the Yukon and most have an image in their mind of what kind of place the Yukon is.

Unfortunately, Americans have a sense of what Canadiana is as well and that Canadiana is just not Americana in the end. While Molson continues to do very well at home, it is a lot to ask of our southern neighbours to embrace our symbols and icons.

When it comes to beer, apparently Canada does not hold much value at all in the United States.

This column is courtesy of the Yukon Brewing Company, an organization that is comfortable with its own identity.

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