Wednesday, October 30

Stella Cidre

This is the most logical line extension on the planet, or is it?

Stella Cidre.  A new apple cider beer from Stella ... You know, the brand with the cool glass.

I don't know what to make of it, quite honestly. On the one hand, you've got an iconic mega brand capitalizing on a hot trend ... cider beers are all the rage in the UK and they've been not-so-slowly making their way stateside.

On the other hand, you have an iconic mega brand capitalizing on a trend.  While Stella is hot in and of itself, I wouldn't consider it trendy.  It's more sophisticated and classic than that.

Apple ciders are hot, so why wouldn't you?  But it just feels awful coming from Stella, and I can't really articulate it.  It feels wildly opportunistic, which isn't what Stella is about, at least not to me.  I first thought that Stella was from Italy, and wondered if Italy has apples ... I don't know.  I've since discovered that it's from Belgium ... do they have apples in Belgium?  I don't know!

We were just talking about Stella in my NYU class last weekend ... the students were marveling about the brand's leadership in a very cluttered category.  I guess I expected more.  Not just following a trend but leading one.  Like they did with launching a truly high end sophisticated beer.  Arguably, the first really sophisticated beer.  And they changed their glass to a white wine glass - why wouldn't they keep their signature glass?  Their glass put them on the map, at least from a marketing perspective. 

I honestly don't know what to make of it ... do apples have that much of an impact?

What's your experience?  Jim.

4 comments:

  1. I was accidentally served a Stella Cidre when I ordered a Stella at dinner one night. Unwittingly, I took a big sip from the frosty glass. Ughhh, it wasn't a pleasant surprise. Not a fan.

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  2. It was an apple bait and switch! Jim.

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  3. Cider has a long and respectable tradition! Sure, there's a trendy trend, but it's not some newfangled fad. There have always been overly sweet ciders that get mocked -- periodically that's tarnished the whole category and I agree that cider like that wouldn't be on brand for Stella. But the one they've actually brought out is quite good. I had sort of your train of thought and tried it specifically to see. I think it's very much the equivalent in cider of classic Stella in lager/pilsner. Timeless, classic, good quality that's sophisticated but not inaccessible or indie-quirky.

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  4. I agree the Cidre extension is misguided, but the presentation still feels genuine to Stella. As a Belgian company, there's a lot of heritage in what they create, and so they outwardly try to exhibit that care and respect for the full experience of the beer. Which is why the departure from their iconic chalice makes sense. The shape and size of the glassware effects the aromatics, the effervescence, the head, etc of the beer - if you drink from the wrong glassware, you diminish the product.

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