People tend to be pretty opinionated about beers. Finland is no different in this respect – folks tend to stick their undisputed favorite beer brands. Given that most Finnish larger-type beers are quite similar to each other, once can legitimately ask is if there are any real taste differences among them? Perhaps we are just victims of branding and marketing?
To find out, I conducted a simple blind-test with the aid of an international panel of 13 scientists from nine different countries. The subjects were allowed to rank their preference for four beers which were Karjala, Koff, Olvi and Sandels – all class III products served in highly standardisized manner.
The results were pretty clear-cut: most people (85%) ranked Karjala as the number one. Sandels and Olvi were ranked as second and third, respectively. Worst of the four was Koff, which was ranked last by over 50% of the panel.
Perhaps the most striking result of this study was that Karjala – a beer perceived by many to be the worst on the market – is actually the best. Likewise, the fact that the market leader (Koff) comes out as the last seems support the view that illusions, rather than taste, is driving people’s preferences.