No one understands alcohol impairment like today’s ride-hailing start-ups. Imagine being the Uber driver hailed to take this stooge to a bar that was 82 feet away. Stupid rides like these are why Lyft has run its “Give a Damn. Don’t Drive Drunk.” campaign the past two years to help people “drink responsibly and get home safe.” Budweiser is a partner in the effort, and it’s turned out to be pretty win-win for both companies, thanks to lots of free media.
Well, it seems Lyft’s marketing geniuses have found an even cleverer type of self-promotion. Encouraging people to Lyft home once they’re drunk only gets the company halfway there — turns out they can’t hail a ride home drunk if they don’t drink first, so cynics are going to have a field day with this: Lyft is now making the very beer people need to reach that can’t-drive state. The Chicago Tribune reports the company and one of the Windy City’s microbreweries, Baderbräu, have gone in together on a new “crisp helles lager” that they’re calling Five Star, after the rating it hopes you’re leaving your drivers. It debuts January 18, comes in 12-ounce cans, and is an “easy-drinking palate cleanser” of a beer with an ABV on par with Bud’s. The collab will only be sold in Chicago bars, meaning you can’t have one at home where there will be no ride-hailing.
The real point of Five Star is that cans also include a discount code for a Lyft ride — the Tribune says the amount is for “as much as” $5 off, so it apparently varies can to can. In other words, if your first Five Star doesn’t get you the highest discount, no fear: Keep drinking more of them!
Lyft’s Midwest manager tells the Trib the beer helps them achieve a longtime goal of getting inside bars. He pretty shamelessly explains that nightlife “is one of our largest business segments,” but unfortunately “the psychology of how [customers] decide to get home and when they decide to make that happen” is difficult to parse. Until it can, Lyft figures having its own beer brand can’t hurt, and the paper adds, don’t be surprised if a version of the brew eventually pops up in other cities.