Victoria Bitter catches solar beer wave in new TV ad campaign

Carlton & United’s shift to 100 per cent renewables has become the new selling point for the brewer’s iconic Victoria Bitter beer, with the release of a solar themed take on the brand’s equally iconic advertisements.

The new ad campaign was teased last week with the line “things are changing at VB,” which caused a minor meltdown among Australia’s Vic Bitter-drinking faithful who assumed changes were being made to the beer itself.

But the Victoria Bitter Facebook page – with the name on the label now adjusted to say “Victoria Better” – quickly put those concerns to bed.

“Wooah,” said a follow-up Facebook post on Friday. “Yesterday we announced that we were changing for the better. Don’t worry – we’re not changing the recipe. We’re going solar. So the next time the sun is making you hot, just remember that it’ll also be making you a cold one!”

And they released the new ad – you can watch below – which features the usual cast of characters working up “a hard earned thirst,” only on this occasion, while putting the final touches to a solar farm.

As we have reported, the shift to renewables by CUB followed the pledge by its now former owner, Anheuser-Busch InBev, to source 100 per cent renewable energy for its entire operations by 2025.

For CUB – which is now owned by Japanese brewing giant Asahi – the plan was to be 100 per cent renewable powered by 2020, and to get there it signed a 12-year deal with to buy the output of the 112MW Karadoc solar farm in Mildura in Victoria.

That deal was to cover around 90 per cent of the the brewer’s energy needs, and a roll-out of rooftop solar at its brewing sites around Australia would account for the remaining 10 per cent.

As reported here, the 112MW Karadoc project, owned by German developer Bay-Wa, began sending power to the grid in December of last year, at which time it was the biggest solar farm in the state.

Karadoc also happens to be one of those solar farms in Victoria and NSW whose output was last week cut in half by the Australian Energy Market Operators, due to issues over “system strength” that appeared to have suddenly emerged.

How this might impact the deal with CUB, or the brewer’s efforts to be 100 per cent renewable powered in 2020, has not yet been revealed.

Meanwhile, the show must go on.

“We ruffled a few feathers with our statement claiming that Victoria Bitter is changing, but it’s all for the better …we’re simply enlisting the Australian sun to help make our VB,” said marketing director Chris Maxwell.

“As a brand that is manufactured in Australia, we need to do our bit for the environment to ensure we can continue brewing for centuries to come,” the statement continued.

“In the last year we have removed all plastic from our can packaging and we are proud that the iconic stubby uses less glass than any other similar sized beer due to its efficient design. This means less energy required to produce, and distribute to all corners of the country.”

The company says it has timed the release of the new solar ad campaign to coincide with the (AFL) “footy” grand finals, and clearly feels the solar message will be well received by this audience.

Judging by the response on Facebook, the idea of solar-brewed VB is going down pretty well, so far.

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