Dive Bar Brewing is the latest brand to attempt to be the craft beer for people who don't like craft beer.
Here's an odd beer riddle: What if you like the taste of mass-produced macro lagers like PBR and Coors, but you don't want to buy those beers for some reason? If you find yourself caught up in this conundrum, Dive Bar Brewing wants to be the people behind your new go-to brew. The Denver brand that launched with a couple small batches last year just ramped up production last month and is hoping to take the city by storm with its Nice Dart American Lager.
One thing both fans and haters of craft beer can agree on is that the craft beer explosion has created a craft beer backlash. Clearly a market still exists for people who don't want to think about their beer—or anything really—when they go to the bar. As a result, a paradoxical new type of brew has come into existence: The craft beer for people who don't like craft beer. The idea, in theory, is that these brands still allow drinkers to support the business side of the craft beer ethos (independently and sometimes locally-produced, small batch products) without having to become a full-on beer snob. A few years ago, well before Dive Bar Brewing, the very similarly named House Beer brand launched in Southern California attempting to tap into this demographic. And plenty of respected craft brands have also launched products that fit this concept – in particular, easy-drinking American-made Mexican-style beers that are the craft world's answer to Tecate and Corona.
In some ways, these mass appeal brews are as intellectually-involved as their hoppy competition, except that all of that thought has to go into the marketing side of things. With a name like Dive Bar Brewing, the foursome behind this bourgeoning brand has definitely placed their stake in the ground.
"We want to be the PBR of the craft-beer industry," Tom Flanagan, who handles Dive Beers marketing and, tellingly, is listed first among the founders on the brand's website, told Denver's Westword. "We don't want people to focus on the beer they're drinking… We want them to focus on the people they're hanging out with while they are drinking the beer." Meanwhile, Jeff Martin, who handles the design, said things even more bluntly: "We want to win over the person who says, 'Fuck craft beer.'"
With slogans like "The Uncraft Craft Beer" and "Just Beer. Nothing Else." Dive Bar Brewing's marketing certainly skews towards Martin's forthright proclamation. But the question still stands: Is there really enough interest in these paradoxical beers—a brew for people who care about how much they don't care—that it can support an entire brand? Apparently, Dive Bar's latest batch of Nice Dart American Lager was about 30,000 cans large. So we'll see.