Blog: Olly WehringAnheuser-Busch InBev – Hey, everyone. Come, see how good I look

Olly Wehring | 3 February 2011

It was Mrs Wehring's birthday yesterday. She got lots of surprises on the day, the lucky lady. She likes surprises - who doesn't?

It's a pity, though, that Anheuser-Busch InBev's attempts to give the UK drinks media a surprise yesterday failed so dismally. The unit's launch of the cider extension of the Stella Artois brand was set to be heralded by a lunchtime press event, the details of which had been kept very hush-hush.

How exciting, we in the press corp thought. What could this be about?

Sadly, the surprise bubble was burst prior to the party, with A-B InBev choosing to issue full details of Stella Artois Cidre to a UK publication prior to the event.

This isn't the first time a 'surprise' product launch announcement has been trumped. I shan't name names - actually, I will, Britvic.

It's also not the first time that news of the arrival of a new product from A-B InBev has got out before the company was ready. Back in 2008, leaked news of the impending arrival of Stella Artois 4% prompted the hasty arrangement of a press conference in London - so hasty, in fact, that no samples of the beer were available to manhandle or taste.

Now, it's very easy to take potshots at companies the size of A-B InBev - indeed, some appear to take tremendous pleasure in doing just that. But, we here at just-drinks are always keen to search out the good in a company, regardless of how big they are.

It proves nigh-on impossible to do just that, however, when a company believes its next big thing is so great that it warrants a literal unveiling, with trumpet-y fanfare, silk throw and 'ta-da' jazz-hands, only for news to break elsewhere beforehand; even moreso if the company concerned broke its own embargo willingly.

You'll forgive me, then, for politely declining any future 'we're-not-going-to-tell-you-what-it's-about' invitations. My heart just can't take the crushing disappointment any more.


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