HOLLAND, MI — Fred Bueltmann was right there with Bob Dylan up until the music icon told America to let Germany brew its beer.
Then, for Bueltmann and many others, it was like, “Wait … what?”
New Holland Brewing Co.'s Fred Bueltmann, aka The Beervangelist.Courtesy photo
On Sunday, Feb. 2, in a stylish pro-Detroit, buy-American ad for Fiat-owned Chrysler, Dylan told the third quarter Super Bowl audience to “let Germany brew your beer; let Switzerland build your watch; let Asia assemble your phone.”
Why? Because “we will build your car.”
Bueltmann, a partner in New Holland Brewing Co. and author of “The Beervangelist’s Guide to the Galaxy,” couldn’t let the Super Bowl slight on the U.S. craft beer industry slide.
“At first, I thought it was just a simple snub. Surely Chrysler didn’t set out to dismiss other industries,” he wrote in a strongly worded letter to the company that he shared with media.
“A second look at the, “Don’t bother with American made” examples of German beer, Swiss watches and Asian-assembled phones, bore them out as inaccurate generalizations that went past cliché and into being downright offensive.”
In the letter, Bueltmann said Chrysler ought to apologize to the craft beer industry for “dismissing their trade in front of millions of viewers.”
“Shame on you, Chrysler for insulting the hard-working people of Detroit, Michigan and America, by forgetting what craftsmanship is all about – authenticity, artistry, trust and respect. American pride and legacy aren’t about buying local out of obligation. These ideals are about celebrating beautiful things made in our communities and being proud because they’re great. So, if Chrysler is going to try and sell us on some warm and fuzzy American pride rhetoric, why don’t you actually show some first?
So, while Chrysler makes more Super Bowl ads, we’ll keep making the beer; in Michigan and every other corner of this great land. We’ll raise our glass, look each other in the eye and mean it when we celebrate our country’s heart and soul.”
The spot was created for Chrysler, now a subsidiary of Fiat, by the Southfield-based GlobalHue agency. The agency did not return a call for comment.
The overall reviews have been mixed; some praised the strong message of Detroit boosterism and others disliked seeing an icon like Dylan selling cars.
The Michigan Brewers Guild, of which Bueltmann is past president, declined to stir the pot by taking a position on the ad.
“It’s not like they were pushing Budweiser,” said spokesperson Dianna Stampfler. “Germany is a beer-producing country.”