Bud Light’s Super Bowl campaign taking a swipe at competitors Miller Lite and Coors Light for using corn syrup sparked a conversation around brewing ingredients. American corn farmers were not pleased with the approach.
Miller Lite subsequently shot back with a full-page ad in the The New York Times.
Today, Coors Light is hosting a “Toast to Farmers” to celebrate the farmers who grow their ingredients.
“Our employees, including members of the Senior Leadership Team, and distributors will visit on-premise accounts, buy a round of Coors Light in states where possible and raise a glass to the hardworking men and women who grow our ingredients,” Ryan Reis, vice president of the Coors family of brands, said in a note to distributors that went out Monday and was included in a MillerCoors blog post about the event.
The brand first announced today’s event on Twitter on Feb. 10.
Let’s all raise a cold one to the hard working American farmers, like those who help grow our high quality ingredients. Join people across the country in celebrating farmers in a national #ToastToFarmers Friday 2/15. Details to come! #CelebrateResponsibly pic.twitter.com/IjozsHUGw3
— Coors Light (@CoorsLight) Feb. 10, 2019
Country music act Brothers Osborne, who are sponsored by Coors Light, also tweeted using the “#ToastToFarmers” hashtag that night in conjunction with the Grammy Awards.
Pumped for tonight’s #GRAMMYs Pregame ritual with @CoorsLight raising a toast to the farmers who bring the brews and grub to the table. Our beautiful country is built on y’all. #ToastToFarmers #partner pic.twitter.com/kxZQsRSeKc
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) Feb. 10, 2019
“While ABI attacks our ingredients and the farmers who produce them, we’re showing our appreciation for farmers’ contributions to our great beer. We’re proud to stand up for our beers, our ingredients and the farmers who grow them,” a MillerCoors spokesperson said in a statement. “That’s why Coors Light is hosting this nationwide #ToastToFarmers. Our employees, including our CEO, and distributors will visit on-premise accounts to buy a round of Coors Lights and raise a glass to the hardworking men and women who grow our ingredients.”
Rhonda Ries, president of Osborn Barr | Paramore, an agency that specializes in working with agricultural clients and is participating in the “Toast to Famers” event, said she was “surprised” by the approach in Bud Light’s Super Bowl ads.
She explained that she doesn’t know the intention behind Bud Light’s strategy and wouldn’t want to speculate on what it was, but said the agency is “more than happy and proud to salute farmers.”
“We are advocates of farmers and at the end of the day they were caught in the crossfire, whether it was intentional or unintentional. Our clients responded to what appears to be some misinterpretation, some potential myths about the ways that food and in particular corn syrup has benefits or lack thereof,” she said. “We’re glad that our agriculture leaders, our farmer partners and everyone else in the food chain is taking a position as well.”
“Anheuser-Busch applauds what Coors Light is doing for farmers,” an Anheuser-Busch representative said in a statement.
AB InBev’s Busch brand is partnering with Farm Rescue, a nonprofit organization that provides farming assistance to farm families impacted by illness, injury or natural disaster.
For each retweet of a tweet dated Feb. 14, the brand has pledged to donate $5 to the organization.
To celebrate America’s farmers we will donate $5 for every retweet to a great organization, @FarmRescueOrg. Join us in supporting all the hardworking men & women who grow America’s crops ???? #ToastToFarmers Learn more at https://t.co/EFNOe2dzUg & https://t.co/GMo9rTFq5W pic.twitter.com/CMB4kRY2O4
— Busch Beer (@BuschBeer) Feb.14, 2019
“Beer doesn’t exist without farmers so they are our most important partners,” Anheuser-Busch vice president of marketing, core and value brands Ricardo Marques said in a statement. “Our partnership with Farm Rescue will help provide critical resources to America’s farmers in need and we’re proud to be able to do our part to support them.”
“At Anheuser-Busch, we know that great beer starts with quality ingredients, which is why we source nearly all our corn, rice, and barley from American farmers,” added Anheuser-Busch director of U.S. agronomy Jess Newman. “Our Agronomy Team in the Midwest has seen firsthand the critical work that Farm Rescue does in the region, and we are proud to support their efforts to help farm families in need.”