Culture

One for the road. The corporate pledge is a thing of marketing beauty, a way to put off until tomorrow what you can look good promising today. And to hear the world’s large companies and institutions tell it, our future’s bright. By 2020, Proctor & Gamble has said it will use zero-waste manufacturing throughout the world. Nissan will be making fleets of affordable self-driving cars. The BBC’s workforce will be half women. And McDonald’s will serve only antibiotic-free chicken (something it already promised to do, well, back in 2003).

Over the weekend, at the SXSW festival in Austin, Budweiser took the genre to new heights. We’re gonna put our beer on Mars, company reps told the attendees at an “unveil” on Saturday. They didn’t say when. But when human beings finally do pilot a rocket towards the red planet, Budweiser has vowed that the King of Beers will be on hand.

This won’t be easy. It means finding a way to deal with Mars’s atmospheric pressure, which is 100 times lower than Earth’s—keeping the bubbles from rising, and turning the beer into a frothy slop. Then, there’s the fact that low gravity environments cause digestive issues. Carbonated drinks tend to fizzle back up astronauts’ throats, causing a condition called “wet burps.” The company’s infographic on potential pitfalls also mentions the way astronauts’ tongues lose sensation due to space-induced swelling—but, come on. We’ve all drank Budweiser. No one’s going to complain if they can’t taste it.

As PR-fueled promises go, this one’s frivolous and pretty benign. Then again, things aren’t exactly going well here on earth—so if we’re forced to flee our home for parts unknown, Budweiser better be ready to science the shit out of it.

Joe Fassler bio

Joe Fassler

Joe Fassler is New Food Economy's senior editor. His food safety and public health reporting has been a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in Journalism. Follow him @joefassler.