Monday, August 20, 2007


Advertisements have a strong influence in our life. We like them because they provide information and create awareness about the market. But many times, some advertisements are accused of misleading people. When such accusations are proved, some advertisements are scrapped off from media. Such instances have been reported in the advertisements endorsing alcoholic drinks and cigarettes. Hence the Government had imposed a ban on advertisements of these products in the media in the year 2002.


As a reaction to the directive of Government, the liquor & tobacco majors sought other ways of endorsing their products. They have found an alternative path of advertising through which they can keep on reminding their liquor brands to their customers. They have introduced various other products with the same brand name. Launching new products with common brand name is known as brand extension, which can be carried out for related products (eg: Kingfisher Airlines and Kingfisher Beer). In this case, the companies launch other products with the same brand name for the purpose of reminding their old customers. Heavy advertising is done so that the customers do not forget their liquor & tobacco brands, for which advertisements are banned. The advertisements for such new products are placed under the category of "Surrogate Advertisements". Their only objective is to compensate the losses arising out of the ban on advertisements of one particular product (i.e. liquor). This is a loophole challenging the Government's action.


The liquor industry is a prominent player in this game. Few surrogate advertisements shown in print, electronic and outdoor media are - Bagpiper soda and cassettes & CDs, Haywards soda, Derby special soda, Gilbey green aqua, Royal Challenge golf accessories and mineral water, Kingfisher mineral water, White Mischief holidays, Smirnoff cassettes & CDs, Imperial Blue cassettes & CDs, Teacher's achievement awards etc. These products bear exactly the same brand name and logo, which we had seen earlier in liquor advertisements. It was little surprising to know that liquor giants like McDowell's and Seagram's have entered into new segments like cassettes & CDs, mineral water, sports accessories etc. Later it was found that the basic aim of these surrogate advertisements was to promote their liquor brands like beer, wine, vodka etc. This brand extension is an act of bypassing the advertisement ban.


The industry segment has its own standpoint in defense. The liquor lobby claims that everything is in accordance to the Government regulations. They clarify that they have stopped showing liquor advertisements and they are free to use the brand name for any other products. Even the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverages Companies (CIABC) advertising code maintains that advertisement of products (real brand extensions) by the liquor industry must be allowed.


Friday, August 17, 2007


Whether you are just beginning to explore the world of beer or you are a seasoned beer snob, these are brews that you should know. In compiling this list I’ve tried to put together a list of beer that are 1) solid representatives of their respective styles 2) seem to have a decent market saturation so you will have a chance of finding them 3) generally cover the spectrum of beer styles.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
In no particular order, I begin with Pale Ale. Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is a great example of the American interpretation of this classic English brew. It is amber colored and has a nice balanced flavor. It is hopped with distinctive Cascade hops.
Beer Link

Fuller's ESB - Bitter
Fuller’s ESB is my selection for the huge family of bitters. The name might stand for Extra Special Bitter though no one really agrees on what ESB means. This beer is dark with rich malt flavoring. Light hops and low alcohol makes this a good session beer.
Beer Link

Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter - Porter
Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter might be as close to the original porter that you can get in the beer world. Taddy has a rich dark color and a medium body.
Beer Link

Pilsner Urquell - Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Pilsner can only really be represented by the one beer – Pilsner Urquel, the original. Despite changes in brewing and lagering methods over the years, this is more or less the same beer that came out of the Plzen casks on October 5, 1842 and harkened a new era in brewing.
Beer Link

Guiness - Dry Stout
Guinness is my choice for dry stout. This famous beer is perhaps one of the best known beers in the world. With a small dose of beer soured by lactic acid bacteria in each batch, Guinness might not be the prototypical dry stout but it is so ubiquitous it is hard to deny it a spot on my list. Other perhaps more correct choices for this style would be Murphy’s or Beamish Stout.
Beer Link

Warsteiner - German Pils
For my German pils entry I suggest Warsteiner. With pronounced hops and a lighter malt profile than even Bohemian Pilsner, German pils will be the most familiar beer on this list to those that normally drink megabrewery beers like Coors or Bud.
Beer Link

Haywards 5000
Haywards 5000 is India's largest selling strong beer brand, which perfectly combines strength with quality credentials that meet the high expectations of today’s demanding consumers.
Beer Link

Goose Island IPA - India Pale Ale
India Pale Ale is a brew whose history is as interesting as the beer itself. Recently it has become a favorite of that odd breed – the American hop-head. Goose Island's India Pale Ale is an ode to the hop cone. To get an idea of the way this brew probably originally tasted, find a McEwans’ India Pale Ale. McEwans was producing IPA all the way back when this style was earning its name.
Beer Link

Hoegaarden - Belguim White
Hoegaarden is at the fore of a revival of the Belgium white, an unusual wheat beer. This is one of the best examples of the mix of spicy yeast and cloudy white that marks a Belgium white.
Beer Link

Chimay Trappist Ales
The Trappist ales, a rich malty style noted for being crafted by monks, is Chimay. You will find that there are a few different varieties available from the Chimay brewery but any of them will do nicely.
Beer Link

Friday, August 10, 2007


The situation of beer in India is really much like the "single-genre" film world. All we got is Pilsners! Just imagine someone who has to sit down and painstakingly taste these similar varieties and come back with their tasting notes – each different and unique.

Lets take the case of Kingfisher, Fosters, London Pilsner, Royal Challenge and the latest on the block Cobra. All belong to the mild segment.

Colour: All the beers are in the straw to golden colour range. Fosters and Cobra are slightly darker than the others. LP, Kingfisher and RC are slightly paler, more yellow and straw-like in colour comparatively speaking. But this is only just slightly and only if you've got superior eyesight.

Carbonation & Head Formation: The Kingfisher and the RC do a good job as "fizzies." The Cobra is good enough to be third noticeably the bubble size (like the Fosters) is slightly bigger than the others. The heads of the Fosters and London Pilsner especially the latter prove great at the disappearing act. The carbonation too appears to be in the following descending order Kingfisher, RC, Cobra, Fosters and London Pilsner.

Mouth feel: Very little really to differentiate. However Fosters and Cobra have slightly heavier bodies. Again this is to a very minute degree.

Aroma: The London Pilsner lets out a pungent, sharp yeasty aroma. The Kingfisher has a hoppy and almost piney sort of an aroma. Also you might sense the warmth of the alcohol in the aroma. The Cobra aroma is a lot less intense and at the same time its balanced. You don't need to cringe while drawing a deep breath over a glass of Cobra. Hints of fruitiness also emanate. Fosters has an almost sour aroma with strong hints of yeast.

Flavour: All the beers seem to balance maltiness with the bitterness of the hops. London Pilsener is watery bland for the first second or two and then its slightly sour (like vinegar) and then lots of hoppy flavour. The Kingfisher has a mild maltiness with sour/estery notes in between (sour notes are in the beginning only). There are hints of a piney/wooden flavour. Then follows a long, hoppy, bitter but pleasant finish. Cobra is more full flavoured than the other beers. It does exercise your taste buds. You may also sense smoky notes in the middle. The bitterness grows slowly and finishes with hints of bittersweet fruits (pear perhaps). The finish is typically long. Lastly the Fosters left me baffled. Its quite full flavoured not so much as the Cobra but more than the Kingfisher. A fine balance between the malts and the hops. But there are hints of burnt toast and a medicine like sourness.

Please feel free to add your personal experience here……………….