Boston Beer on May 14 unveils its LongShot line, a trio of beers that won the American Homebrewers Association's 1996 World Homebrew Contest. The beers will be marketed till at least next March, when they may be unseated by the winning 1997 recipes.
"This is Boston Beer's way of supporting the homebrewing movement," said Rob Cushman, LongShot's director of brand development. "We're convinced the best beer in America is being brewed in people's kitchens."
Jeffrey Grisold's Black Lager, James Simpson's Pale Ale and Doug & Vicki Parker's Hazelnut Brown Ale roll out nationally this month with "extensive" radio and print advertising from Boston Beer agency Gearon Hoffman, Boston, Mr. Cushman said.
A DIFFERENT SPOKESMAN
Radio spots will feature not Jim Koch, Boston Beer's brewer and traditional radio spokesman, but English beer writer and competition judge Michael Jackson.
"We're giving LongShot a very big push for the first three to five months" into September, Mr. Cushman said. "Our goal is to get these beers out to as far-flung an audience as possible"-to the tune of about 500,000 cases by yearend.
Mr. Cushman said LongShot ad spending will be "comparable" to that of the Samuel Adams line, on which Boston Beer spent about $7.3 million on media in 1995, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Both Samuel Adams and LongShot also will introduce World Wide Web sites within the month; the Samuel Adams site will be a 130-page whopper, and the smaller LongShot site will promote the 1997 homebrewing competition, Mr. Cushman said.
Though LongShot uses homebrew recipes, reprinted on the bottom of the six-packs' cardboard packaging, Boston Beer Co.'s name is on each label, as is the name of contract brewer Hudepohl-Schoenling.
As for the fates of the three homebrews, Mr. Cushman makes no promises for 1997-but said Boston Beer may leave the door open.
"At this point, we have no plans to keep three current winners next year, but if they prove wildly successful, and consumers vote with their palates and their pocketbooks, we'll consider keeping them on somehow," he said. "Everything points to an enthusiastic reception, but we really don't know how beer enthusiasts will react to this."