Monday, 28 February 2011

Stella Artois Triple Filtrée!

Stella Artois really annoys me. It's not just that it's a typical bland lager. A few years back they referred to the year 1340 in their ads as if to imply that the beer had really been in existence for that long. It actually dates from the mid 1920's when it was a dark Xmas beer. Stella = 'star', geddit?

The last few years have seen a proliferation of art-house style ads that give the impression that Stella is French. Then came the Nouvelle 4% with open top Citroens driven along the Corniche and glamorous women in pencil skirts and head scarfs.  Now it's a 'Smooth Outcome' delivered in a cod French accent.

My problem? Stella Artois is Belgian beer from Dutch speaking Leuven. Obviously this is not cool enough as the ad agencies try to distance the brand fro the 'wife beater' image. A pity for them that it's still being discounted in Aldi.


  1. I do find the adverts for Stella amusing, showing a beer served to a woman on a train, ok not so unlikely I've seen it but a pint, to a woman like that of wife beater!

  2. Ah, Stella Artois! Funny beer... They market themselves as being Belgium's "first" or "oldest" or "original" beer, since 1340. Ironically enough, if that were true, that would make Stella Artois even OLDER than Belgium! The biggest "secret" about Belgium is that it is not, strictly speaking, a country. In reality, Belgium occupies parts of two distinct nations, a Francophone south and Dutch-speaking north, unlike other European nationalities, most of which have a rather ancient ethnogenesis, there was no Belgium to speak of until it's independence from the United Netherlands in the 1830's. So I always found it puzzling how a beer allegedly dating back to 1340 could be Belgium's "original beer." That territory had been part of numerous polities prior: the kingdom of the United Netherlands, the revolutionary French Republic and Napoleonic Empire, the Hapsburg Netherlands and Burgundian territory before then. But lacking a unifying ethnicity, it always baffled me how a beer could be claimed as "Belgian" from before an independent Belgian state existed. But since you say that the beer only dates from the mid-1920's and that the 1340 date is false, that makes the whole objection rather moot. [I never knew that, but very interesting, I'm glad to know!] Also, never mind that the the historic French territory Artois was entirely within what is now France, never overlapping with what is now Belgium, though Artois WAS part of the Burgundian and Hapsburg Netherlands. (Or that, as you mention, Stella Artois is based in Leuven, in DUTCH-speaking Flanders...)

    That never bothered me, though it did amuse and confuse me. As for the beer itself, I don't mind it, and in fact, I actually rather like it. Is it perfect, excellent, or exceptional? By no means! Is it drinkable? Sure! Definitely better than average... But while the drink itself is good, it's nothing special, no better than most well-known European beers.

    What does bother me, and in fact, aggravates me about Stella Artois is that fruity-ass papery label wrapped around the bottle top. It is a useless, non-functional hindrance between me and my damn beer! The marketing people at Stella Artois apparently think that the fruity wrapper makes their beer look fancier. (If they at least went with an aluminum foil wrapper, it would at least peel more easily, and would probably be more eco-friendly.) No doubt, the extra money spent putting such wrapping on every bottle is a marketing ploy to appeal to women (and perhaps effeminate men) who probably know nothing about beer. But for guys like me, who do not have a strong opinion one way or the other about that particular beer, that stupid wrapper is just an unnecessary nuissance, serving no function other than wasteful packaging, and getting in the way when I just want to pop open a bottle. And when it's decision time, between Stella Artois and a beer of similar quality i will go for the more "convenient" product.

    THAT is what annoys me most about Stella Artois!