Jessica “Smart” SimpsonJessica Simpson is the face of Stampede Light Plus, a vitamin-enhanced German-style light lager made by Stampede Brewing Co. of Dallas, TX. But she’s not just the ‘face’ of the beer, she’s part owner.

From the press release:

Everyone knows about Jessica Simpson’s daisy dukes body and healthy lifestyle. The all-American beauty and world-renowned entertainer has a passion for working out and making healthy food choices. But she also makes those smart choices with the beer she drinks. “Yes, I work out and take care of myself, but I also like a cold beer once in a while,” Simpson said. A new light beer with functional additives is Simpson’s new favorite beer — Stampede Light Plus®

Started by a fitness expert and former Anheuser-Busch marketing employee, Lawrence Schwartz, and formulated by the late Dr. Joseph Owades (the creator of the first-ever light beer in 1967 – now Miller Lite), Stampede Light has drinkability and marketing appeal that speaks directly to a healthier consumer.

First, let me say that I think it is great that Stampede Brewing is using innovation to differentiate itself. The endless possibilities of beer are one of the things that make it great and what has fueled the craft beer movement. I also think it is great that Jessica Simpson has decided to invest in a small brewery.

Having said that, WTF? Stampede Light Plus is supposed to “a beer infused with B vitamins, folic acid, and folate.” Beer already contains B vitamins naturally. Folic acid and folate are forms of vitamin B9 and, again, are normally found in beer. In fact, “one litre of the highest folate beer contains approximately the same amount of folate as 100g broccoli, 0.5 kg tomatoes, 0.25 kg potatoes or 1.5 litres of 2% milk.” We’ve said before: beer is good for you. It may be true that “light” beer contains less vitamins than non-light beer, I honestly don’t know, but this seems like nothing more than marketing hype. There’s nothing wrong with creative marketing but caveat emptor.

Speaking of marketing, Jessica Simpson is the face of a beer whose slogan is Be Smart Drink Smart? Really? I don’t know Ms. Simpson personally but it’s my impression that she has cultivated an image of the quintessential blond in every sense of the word. I suspect that she is not as dumb as she is made out to be but still…. Maybe she’s trying to change the dumb blond image but that picture doesn’t make her look particularly smart. Confused, maybe. It’s a mixed message at best and it doesn’t say “This is a ‘healthy’ beer” to me. I’m probably not the target audience though.

Update
The smart folks at Wired Science blog had the same reaction I did. They asked Lawrence Schwartz, CEO Stampede Brewery, for actual numbers regarding the amount of vitamins in the Plus beer but he would only say, “About the same amount as Vitamin Water.”

So Wired ran the numbers and it turns out  Stampede Light Plus has more of some B vitamins than your average beer but less than others. In fact, drinking a Guinness is almost as “healthy” for you when it comes to getting your daily intake of B vitamins. I’ll take the Guinness, thank you very much.