Saturday, March 06, 2010

Failed Beer Concepts: Brussels Sprout Vegeta-Bel-gian Ale (2007)

You have to hand it to the Belgians; they could see a beer tsunami as well as the next person. The problem was in the execution.

The year 2007 was a red-letter year for premium-priced specialty beers from Belgium: Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Chimay, Duvel, the list goes on and on. In November 2007, in what can only be described as a Flemish flight of flancy, the Belgian brewing giant InterBier introduced Brussels Sprout Vegeta-Bel-Gian Ale, a beer in which the hops were replaced by a collection of organic green vegetables such as sweet peas, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and, yes, brussels sprouts.

The roll-out was framed as an effort to capture, simultaneously, the two burgeoning markets for Belgian ale and organic beers. Unfortunately, InterBier failed to adequately taste-test the new formula. It was a hit among organic farmers, but the broader beer-drinking market was not interested in giving up that traditional hops taste. B.S. -  V.B.G. Ale was quickly yanked from shelves during the fall of 2008 during the general confusion caused by the blockbuster InBev-Anheuser-Busch merger.

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