Faux Craft: Band of Brewers Third Shift Amber Lager

When the first ads started to hit the airwaves I began to wonder if this “Band of Brewers” was a tease for a movie from the guys behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  You know the type of movie…zany outsiders band together to conquer a common enemy whether it’s zombies or Timothy Dalton chewing up scenery or an ill-fated pub crawl.  Why couldn’t it work?

At the very least I was hoping it was a stealth campaign for the movie Drinking Buddies.  Nope.  In reality Band of Brewers is another faux craft brand from MillerCoors that has released Third Shift Amber Lager onto store shelves and tap handles:

Third Shift

Impressions?  Well…it tastes like the band of brewers were sitting around one night drinking Coors Light and decided what was missing were some steeping grains.  That’s the best way to describe Third Shift Amber Lager–enhanced Coors Light.  Whatever.

Here’s the primary problem with faux craft.  The beers generally turn out to be variations of the same boring macro-brews that we, as a group of beer drinkers, are increasingly rejecting in favor of true craft beers.  Just reimagining the same tired formula does not produce something new, it produces something that is derivative.

Look at the six-pack carrier:

Six Pack Carrier

Single color print impression on rough finished plain cardboard?  I was half expecting handwritten details on the labels or, at the very least, something printed in a handwriting-esque script.

It is heartening to see that the largest brewers in the world realize that the answer to declining sales may not be a revival of the Swedish Bikini Team, but rather is producing better beer.  However, these attempts at faux craft come across as crass opportunism.


14 responses to “Faux Craft: Band of Brewers Third Shift Amber Lager

  1. Tina Rulewicz

    While you may be right in the misleading marketing of the beer, I think you review may be a bit harsh. As the manager of an Irish Restaurant and Pub, I specialize in the cultivation of an eclectic 22 Tap inventory and many more specialty bottles. First, you criticized the card board packaging and coloring…Honestly, have you ever carried a six pack out of a walk-in cooler and had it collapse, breaking all the bottles because the box looked pretty but was flimsy? I’ll take practical and efficient over waste any day. Second, Third Shift Amber Lager is not as bad a beer as you say. Moreover, it’s an excellent transitional beer to move people from Coors Lights to true Craft beers…You should cut the beer some slack and instead discuss its relevance as an educational tool. Moreover, with In-Bev almost becoming a monopoly eating up craft brewery after craft brewery (ie Goose Island), this may be MillerCoors way of an attempt to compete.


    • My gripe with the design of the package was not in its functional design, but in its aesthetic design. It just screams faux craft with the uncoated brown cardboard and single color print. Sure, it carries beer but plastic rings also hold six cans of PBR.

      SAB Miller Coors or whatever the abomination is called now has to compete with Ab-InBev but that does not mean anyone need supplicate themselves before the lords of big beer.

  2. I love PBR.

  3. tyrone.sweetlick

    Sorry, Tina, I take issue with you trying to spin this rip-off beer as an educational tool. The problem is the creators have not tried to sell it as an education tool. They are trying to sell it as craft beer. They defined those terms, not us. As such, it is a failure and derivative crap based on an obvious lie.

    I understand gateway beers. I started with honey ales and belgian whites. If they want to hit that part of the market, fine. Just quit pretending the beer is something it isn’t. Spend more money on the beer and less on the bogus marketing.

  4. I wish my beer aisle was packed with crisp interesting craft lagers that were reasonably priced , but its not. This was 7$ a 6 pack and the beer is over 5% and it had some flavor . I got a buzz drinking it and thats what i care most about .

  5. I had a feeling this was a MC or AB product. It tastes okay but nothing really great. I need to talk with my local grocery store about some other brands, otherwise I’ll have to drive an extra 40 miles round trip to get what I really want.

  6. I found this blogsite while looking up Third Shift Band of Brewers. I long suspected that this was some faux craft stuff, just by the slick, trying-too-hard-to-be-hip TV ads. My wife brought a bottle (thank goodness not a whole six-pack) home today saying it looked “interesting”. Yep – Miller-Coors really put their money into the marketing with this one, but now I’ll even skip tasting the stuff, as I detest Coors Light, Miller Lite, and their ilk. Thanks for the informational blog post!

  7. I tend to stick with lagers. I found this beer to be pretty good for what it is. It doesn’t cost and arm and leg and has a distinct flavor I find enjoyable to drink. I feel you discount the beer because of the marketing, which is your prerogative,

  8. I’m drinking one right now. I’ve had it on tap before, and didn’t like it, but… I wanted to give it one more try.
    Do yourself a favor, buy some Yuengling if you want an inexpensive amber lager. This stuff… watery, too sweet, and lacking any character.
    Buy Yuengling. Leave this on the shelf.

    • I love Yuengling, but it is not distributed in my neck of the woods. When I visit family in rural western Ohio it’s a common choice to break the Budweiser monopoly in most watering holes.

      If you want something with a little more body a good choice is Shiner Bock. Sure, it’s not really a bock per the style snobs. Nonetheless, it’s a tasty beer.

  9. Pingback: Faux Craft: Colorado Native Lager | My Green Misadventure

  10. Politics aside its not a bad beer. I am 51 years old and have traveled all over the world and tried beer in many countries. I kind of like Third Shift. It has some balance and I don’t get a sour feeling in my stomach from to many hops. I travel up to Seattle often to see my Daughter and the craft beers up their are always to far in one direction on the malt or hops scale. Also I hate what craft beers are doing to the overall price of beer. It’s getting difficult to find a six pack of decent beer under $7.75. Considering the price of beer I have started looking for that good bottle of red wine for about the same price.

  11. I knew something was off when I bought this cheap beer today. The generic packing had absolutely no information about where it was made, who made it, what it was made from- you know- basic things printed on craft beers.

    • This is the problem I have with a lot of faux craft beers. There is an element of dishonesty about the way in which the origin of the beer is promoted.

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