This is a guest post by Mandy Miller. Follow her on Twitter @amandammiller9.
In case you missed it, Big Brews (not as evil as Big Tobacco) may be trying to ‘buy out’ your area code. Anheuser-Busch has recently applied for 15 trademarks for the following area codes: 314 (St. Louis), 412 (Pittsburgh), 305 (Miami), 619 (San Diego), 202 (Washington, D.C.), 602 (Phoenix), 704 (Charlotte), 702 (Las Vegas), 214 (Dallas), 415 (San Francisco), 216 (Cleveland), 303 (Denver), 713 (Houston), and 215 (Philadelphia).
Why, you ask? Well, recently Anheuser-Busch InBev bought Chicago microbrewer Goose Island, maker of 312 (named for the Chicago area code). This very well could be a means to seize a market opportunity, or it could just be an adorable attempt at a brand extension. The supposed idea behind this is that Anheuser-Busch may try to extend this branding into other area codes, crafting specialty beer(s) for your city.
My thoughts? Smart – kind of. It’s cute, but at the same time, I like the ‘cozy’ and personalized touch that goes into smaller microbrewers. Maybe I just need to have more happy feelings with every Bud Light I have, but Goose Island was located in ‘the 312.’ How is Anhesuer-Busch going to position and craft these beers when they are a mega brewing giant? Shouldn’t a local brewer know best for crafting these? What if you’re in a suburb of Cleveland, Denver, etc. Are you going to feel left out because it just doesn’t taste like your area code?
What are your thoughts? Strategic move or cute attempt? Do you feel this takes away from the specialty crafts of microbrews?