Recent limited rollouts of Bacardi Imports' Hatuey beer, Brown-Forman Corp.'s Jack Daniel's 1866 Classic line of beers and Seagram Beverage Co.'s two test brews have not been promoted by TV spots. And each marketer said the brands won't be coming to TV soon, if ever.
That means the brands' marketing likely won't further test the voluntary ban on TV advertising for spirits brands, recently reconsidered by members of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.
A CUBAN BRAND
Bacardi's entry revives for the U.S. the former No. 1 beer in Cuba; Hatuey was brewed from 1926 until 1960, when Cuban leader Fidel Castro seized Bacardi's domestic facilities. Hatuey, now made on contract by G. Heileman Brewing Co. in Baltimore, was introduced in Miami and Tampa late last year and this month will reach New Jersey, New York and Chicago, according to Marcos Perez, brand manager.
"We don't have the dollars for TV advertising," Mr. Perez said, though Bacardi is using radio spots in Spanish, by Zubi, Miami. English-language ads are by Alden Group, New York, with print ads by Ammirati Puris Lintas.
"We find that from a purely marketing standpoint, the top reason people are buying Hatuey is that it's Cuban, and the next is that it's a unique package from Bacardi," Mr. Perez said, adding: "The fact that this packaging says `Hatuey Beer by Bacardi' does raise eyebrows."
Bacardi has tested the broadcast TV waters in recent years with Bacardi Breezer coolers.
"At the time, there were no major issues, even with our tagline, `Bacardi's light rum makes the difference,'*" Mr. Perez said.
JACK DANIEL'S ENTRY
Brown-Forman is marketing three Jack Daniel's 1866 Classic beers in nine Mid-Atlantic and Southern states, but said the brand is a long way from TV.
Radio spots were used for Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails and that didn't raise any public ire when they broke nationally in 1992, said Kevin Janiga, senior brand manager.
Simmons, Durham & Associates, St. Louis, handles 1866's print and radio, themed "Wood is good," and positions the beer as unique due to its brewing with smoked oak chips made from Jack Daniel's whiskey barrels.
1866 Classic has become the No. 2-selling craft beer line in its region behind Boston Beer Co.'s Samuel Adams line, Mr. Janiga said.
TV may be too broad a medium for the line's craft-beer cachet, he added.
"I don't know if we could rule out TV, but right now we have made no commitment to bring the beer to other markets," Mr. Janiga said.
SEAGRAM MOVES SLOWLY
Seagram Beverage Co. is stepping slowly into brewing as well. The Seagram division is even trying to distance its name from Devil Mountain and Coyote, the microbrew lines now testing, a spokeswoman said. Devil Mountain is testing in seven markets; Coyote tested in five locations last fall and will return to test marketing this summer, she added.
If the brands' marketing does brew any controversy, the raised voices might come from the likes of Anheuser-Busch.
The No. 1 U.S. brewer this year has demanded that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms require all craft beers to state explicitly which company brews them.
Among its prime targets: Boston Beer, which serves as a "consultant" to Seagram's beer marketing, according to the Seagram spokeswoman. Boston Beer contracts out much of its production to facilities owned by other brewers, including Stroh Brewery Co.
Neither Seagram's nor Boston Beer's names appear on Coyote's or Devil Mountain's labels.