Digital & Social Media

Beer Glasses to See Climate Change

Beer Glasses to See Climate Change

Campaign: Singapore-based WWF subsidiary charity Earth Hour has created a beverage designed to simulate what beer will taste like in years to come, if we don’t take action against global warming. The forecasted high temperatures and erratic weather could negatively impact both the quantity and quality of hops grown in Australia, according to a study by University of Queensland researcher Peter Gous.

Earth Hour partnered with GPY&R in Brisbane and craft beer experts Willie the Boatman and Young Henrys to create the Drought Draught. To reflect the effects of future farming conditions, the ingredients of the brew include dried-out malt, stale hops and lots of salt. The result is a drink that Willie the Boatman describes as tasting “acidic, salty and a little bit funky.”

The Drought Draught launched as part of the #SaveTheAles campaign at events during Earth Hour night. The #SaveTheAles campaign is also asking people to upload a #NoBeerSelfie to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to help spread the cause. All photos are uploaded to an online hub, which also offers more information about the effects of global warming on Australian beer.

Contagious, FleishmanHillard’s Melinda Love Weigh In

Contagious: The negative potential impact of global warming is well-documented, but to some people the consequences feel impersonal and far removed from their current lives. However, many consider beer to be one of the major pleasures of everyday life, and the drink is deeply ingrained in people’s social lives. Earth Hour has chosen a subject that people can directly relate to, and therefore could resonate more personally. In fact, research shows that 42 percent of people give to charities that have a personal relevance to them. While this campaign seems to be more about raising awareness than donations, it might open people’s minds to the idea of donating to Earth Hour in the future.

The tone of #SaveTheAles is different from the usual guilt-ridden campaigns about the environment. Its fun, tongue-in-cheek approach is more engaging, but a serious point is still made in the process. Plus, bringing the issue of global warming to an inherently social product will hopefully spark conversation. People could be more receptive and open-minded to these issues in relaxed, friendly settings.


Love: Hotly debated for decades, you would think climate change would have broken through the barrier and become something that we’re all talking about on a regular basis. Even President Obama has gone to great lengths to mainstream climate change by performing a comedic skit at the recent White House Correspondent’s dinner. While the skit has gone viral, we’re yet to see if it’s because we’re worried about the changes to our atmosphere – or if we’re more entertained by the leader of the free world cracking jokes.

In today’s media logged society, the latest Kim/Kanye controversy or the launch of the Apple Watch is more likely to bubble to the top. In a word, climate change is, well, boring. It’s confusing and it’s complicated. If you do believe it’s real, it’s not something that most people worry about. It’s something that scientists, educators and politicians worry about. It’s not going to affect “me.” The lack of public concern has scientists shaking their heads.

That’s why the #SaveTheAles campaign is so brilliant. The people at Earth Hour are creating conversations around something that most everyone can relate to: beer. They have brewed a beer that tastes horrible. It’s what beer will taste like if we don’t do something about the environment. What better way to capture the minds and hearts of John Q. Public than messing with their beer? They’ve created relevancy by telling a story that everyone can relate to. Now, if we can extend the campaign beyond Australia to the rest of the globe, that would be something I could drink to.


About the author

This article was syndicated from Contagious Feed, an indispensable resource to the marketing communications industry focusing on competitive intelligence, best practices, new technology and consumer behavior. In addition to the flagship quarterly publication, app and Feed, Contagious has developed a consultancy and a series of world-class conferences.

Melinda Love helps lead FleishmanHillard's creative team in St. Louis, bringing deep expertise in brand management, event production, executive presentation strategy, video services and collateral design. Before joining the agency is 2000, she founded the creative group for the Widmeyer-Baker Group in Washington, D.C.