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This article was published on October 20, 2021

Tesla’s making beer now — and that’s dangerous marketing

Hold my 'Giga Beer'

Tesla’s making beer now — and that’s dangerous marketing
Ioanna Lykiardopoulou
Story by

Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainabili Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainability, green tech, AI, and EU policy. With a background in the humanities, she has a soft spot for social impact-enabling technologies.

Over a week ago, at Tesla’s “Giga Fest” event in Berlin, on the site where the company is currently building its German Gigafactory, Elon Musk announced that Tesla is going to make its own… beer. 

Echoing the “giga” spirit of the day, the beer is going to be called “Giga Beer” and “Giga Bier” (the German equivalent), and the bottle’s design is inspired by the futuristic lines and angles of the Cybertruck.

Here’s what our dear Elon said during the event:

We’re going to build a train station that’s right on the property. And then we’re going to have graffiti murals all throughout the factory, on the outside and everything. So I think that’s going to be pretty cool. We’ve got some of them already. And we’re even going to have a beer

Given that Musk likes to tease around with crazy ideas that add to his ‘cool engineer-entrepreneur’ profile, one would think that this was a joke.

But no, folks, in wasn’t.

Some days later, Tesla applied for trademark rights for both name versions at the United States Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO).

If you search on USPTO’s database you will find the following information:

Tesla giga beer
The “Giga Beer” application.
Tesla Giga Beer
The “Giga Bier” application.

So, yes, this is actually happening.

The fact that the beer bottles look as ugly as the Cybertruck isn’t my biggest issue here.

Nor I consider the “Giga Beer” the weirdest non-actual-car-related product an automaker has pushed.

Tesla itself currently sells a Zero Emissions (Almost) Onesie, y’know, for your average EV lover infant.

Tesla onesie
Credit: Tesla

And let’s not forget the AudiOPOLY — yes, a MONOPOLY for Audi fans.

Credit: Gear Patrol

Or Mercedes’ life-sized Nico Rosberg wall sticker, for all those who wished to have the F1 champion intently staring at them while sleeping.

Mercedes Rico Rosberg
Credit: Gear Patrol

Yeah, no wonder that both stopped being sold rather fast.

What actually troubles me is that Tesla’s following a rather dangerous marketing strategy.

Having a car-themed beer is incredibly questionable, given that it’s not a really good idea to associate your car company with drinking.

And, as a matter of fact, this isn’t the first time Tesla is entering the venture of the alcohol business. Perhaps you remember the $250 Tesla Tequila, which was introduced in November 2020.

Tesla Tequila
It’s also currently sold out… Credit: Tesla

But while the “Giga Beer” or the Tesla Tequila may bring extra publicity to the company, the subconscious association between drinking and driving this strategy evokes may actually encourage reckless behavior. And this is nothing to joke about.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), drinking and driving kills 28 people a day in the US — about one person every 52 minutes. This means that more than 10,000 lives are lost each year and that drunk driving is responsible for about 1/3 of all traffic fatalities.

Don’t get me wrong here — I’m not implying that Tesla wishes to associate drinking and driving, the same way I don’t believe that it wants its consumers to misuse Autopilot.

But as the company’s marketing strategy regarding its Autopilot and its Full Self-Driving package has resulted in numerous driverless stunts, it’s not difficult to imagine future social media videos with titles such as “Drinking Tesla beer while driving my Tesla.”

So, yes, to put it in a broader perspective, I do believe that Tesla should more responsible when deciding on its marketing strategies.

Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up? 

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