Sunday, 17 July 2011

Stella Artois and Cider - My Thoughts.

Throughout the earlier times of my young adult life, Stella Artois has got the better of me on both nights out and the morning after. ‘Reassuringly expensive’ as a brand slogan, you pay for quality. You get quality.

In the summer months, or on holiday. I branch away from my typical cold larger and have a cider, with a glass with ice. I see it as a treat, something different. The perfect supplement to a hot summers day and sitting in a beer garden with friends.

So imagine my surprise when I noticed recently that Stella Artois was branching out in the popular cider market. A market dominated by Magners, Bulmer’s (Technically the same people/product) Strongbow, Gamers.  I was on the Docklands Light Railway heading to work at the start of April when I saw a billboard for Cidre.

At first I thought it was an advertising strategy for the larger product targeting the Bulmer’s crowd, I never contemplated that Stella would branch away for what they are traditionally known for, and if you think about it, No other larger brands have entered the cider market as a larger brand. But why not? The UK Cider market is worth big money, in 2006 alone “Sales of cider in the UK grew 23% in 2006 to 965 million pints” (BBC News), and after a dip in sales due to the credit crunch 2007-2009, that 965 million pint figure was hit again in 2010.

Stella’s position is an interesting one; they advertise it in their current campaign as “cee-dra” not “si-der” and regularly comment on quality and refreshing taste. With a European theme evident within the advert, taken from the Stella larger adverts of bygone times.

Stella as a larger, has many different images. No matter where it is consumed, it is known for its strength in alcoholic content ‘rocket-fuel’ & ‘wife-beater’ to give it some of its nicknames. In most pubs, it is seen as expensive, fine, tasting, and even with the Stella Artois glass you receive your beverage from in the pub, adds to the quality feel of your Stella Artois drinking experience.
Yet with the youth of today, you could find a 24 pack of cans in any student house, park, and council estate in almost any village, town or city within the UK. Personally I am of the impression that the beer is not as good when drunk from a can, and would go out of my way to find a glass. Yet this negative view of Stella is minor and in the end, as a brand, due to the brand being a strong one. The quality of Stella will always shine through.

In terms of the cider product, I feel their advertising campaign is spot on, they use the strength of the larger brand and Stella name to introduce the product, before highlighting that the product is new and they are going to be doing something different, without losing any feel of the original Stella Artois brand., again the quality shines through.

I have tasted it. It’s not bad, just as good as a magners, but in a different way. At first it was hard for me to grasp I was drinking orange/brown liquid from a Stella glass that was not larger. But over the few weeks, I grown to like the taste and personally I hope Stella Cidre sticks around, and many a more night will be lost to this fantastic brand. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


I am having a month or two from writing to concentrate on work matters. I will pick this up in the summer months.

Friday, 25 March 2011

How music at the moment, Rules my life ! !

Hi, Welcome to my first blog.

I will be sharing my thoughts with the world every now and then. More often than not it will be around every 2 weeks, but depending on the occasion, it may be sooner. 

For my first topic I wanted to share with the world how music at the moment, is currently driving most things I do. It’s the highlight of my ride to work in the morning, it’s the gig’s I have tickets for, it’s what I listen too before I play football, it’s the only reason I want to go on holiday (Ibiza) this summer.

This summers dream

Growing up, I had many musical influences in my life. From Dad with Meatloaf, My mum with Fleetwood Mac, my Nan W gave me a lesson in Status Quo and Rod Stewart from an early age. And anyone who really knows me knows I have a thing for Frank Sinatra. I would like to say the last one comes from my Granddad H but I have no idea.

Over the last full year or so my avid love of football has slowly been in decline, and whilst it’s still a big part of my life. It’s not as evident as it used to be, a mixture of poor world cup by the national team, a very inconsistent season by my beloved Everton and my Dad not loving it as much as he used too (“you will never see a team as good as the 80s Everton team Dan”) are the main factors for this. Don’t get me wrong, I still check the websites 3-5 times a day. But it’s not twice an hour like it used to be.

At the moment, I am getting my kicks from Music and let’s be honest I like anything. Before football you will see me bopping away to Kasabian, when I am nodding off plan b’s album usually helps. Before i go out its the House, Electro, Disco scene (But more on the last ones later) I come home from work, Boom ! The laptop goes on ! ! The tunes go on.  Now with Technology such as Beatport, Spotify and Soundcloud. Music can be available from anywhere that has a wireless connection.

Currently I can’t seem to do anything without music, for those people that have had the pleasure of riding the tube at 7:30am, they will understand how important headphones are. The tube is rammed and for the 34 minuet journey to work these headphones can be the difference between a good day and a shocker. It allows me to collect my thoughts and read the Metro without a care in the world.

Whilst already stated I like most bits of music, My main love is dance Music. Dance music has gone from strength to strength to with the resurgence of the Ibiza scene, improvements to technology and the introduction of new genres (For EG: Dubstep). I can’t describe the feeling I get when I hear a new song by Deadmau5 or Swedish house mafia. The way the euphoria hits me. It’s something at the moment which nothing else comes close too.  Dance music now is more evident than people think. Artists like JLS and London based grime artist Kano have all used Ibiza beats in their songs (Youtube: Kano Rock n Roll and you will know what I mean). With people listing to Balearic beats in more different forms of music than ever, it will go from strength to strength and can only get better.  As for myself, I literally spend a good few hours a week on beatport making sure I have the latest songs from dance artists.  BBC radio one on a Friday night is also a must. Pete Tong and Anni mac ! ! On the 28th may this year, i am going to see Swedish House Mafia with 9,999 other lucky souls, i know already. The only way this will be topped. Would be going Ibiza itself in the summer. 

Ibiza - Pacha August 2010 

In terms of friends, Henny, Simmo and Dean Iriving are always good for a chat about dance music. More often than not, one of them three will send me a song (and vice versa) which I will know have an effect on them.  With simmo being the hardest to please as he hates anything with an urban beat.

I smile when on Facebook, someone includes a Youtube link for a song. It could be a new song they have just found, a song they can’t stop singing. Maybe a song they have not heard in a while, that song has obviously had an effect on them at sometime in their life and the fact they have chosen that to share with the world is a brilliant way of expressing themselves. You can tell a lot about a person from their music taste. Michelle bates this week uploaded on Facebook, Mike & The Mechanics - The living Years. A song i have not heard in a long time, but at the same time. One i know from growing up within at least one member of my family. And for those few moments in the day, her wall post had an effect on me. I gave my good friend Henny a link to a song called the moment by Steve Angelo (33% of Swedish house mafia) whilst at work. He txt me, “this tune is brilliant Danny”, this makes me happy that something I chose to tell him about has influenced him. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone will love it. But if one person does. Then that makes it all worth wild.

Keep singing; Keep dancing, and Keep Smiling.

Feel the energy deep inside your system and leave the world behind you.

Danny. X

Next Blog: A Northerner's guide to London.