Beer industry in identity crisis
Sales are down for 3 years in a row, while alcoholic spirits are seeing renewed interest.
And now the industry is in a bit of a panic. One reason? The old ways of doing business just don't cut it anymore. Jokey Super Bowl commercials don't resonate like they used to. Weak, watery beer is falling out of favor.
Consumer attention has especially turned to alcoholic spirits lately. Spirit volume sales rose 3.2% for the year ended in mid-September, Ad Age reports. Beer sales fell 1.5%. How can beer compete when Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker and Skinnygirl cocktails have all the momentum?
The chief executive of MillerCoors says the beer industry is to blame, and he let the industry know in a forceful speech this week, Ad Age reports.
"The days of beer guys knocking each other around and not worrying too much about spirits and wine is over, and it's frankly been over for a long time," Tom Long told beer distributors at a meeting of the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
It was a powerful speech, and while Long didn't give specific recommendations, he seemed to point to one overall strategy: Selling the brand of beer.
In other words, the industry needs to unite and remind people that yes, beer is still there, it tastes good and it's a better choice than vodka or wine. Maybe something like the "Here's to Beer" image campaign that Anheuser-Busch sponsored but couldn't get rivals to join, Ad Age reported.
MillerCoors is a joined venture owned by SABMiller (SBMRY) and Molson Coors (TAP).
Beer used to pretty much own the airwaves. You wouldn't see much television advertising for rum in the past, for example. But that's changed.
"Look at Grey Goose," Long told the crowd. "This brand was created right out of thin air. French Vodka? Who would have thought such a thing?" But yet Grey Goose jumped out there, advertised liberally and was able to create a new price tier in vodka (and spawn relentless copycats).
So does the beer industry need an overhaul? Perhaps the industry should look more to its own rising star -- craft beers -- for inspiration. Even in a turbulent economy where unemployment is stubbornly stuck at 9%, the more expensive craft beers are all the rage.
Why is craft beer doing so well when the rest of the industry sinks? Why are people more open to pricier liquors and cocktails in a stumbling economy?
No one knows the answers. But Long's message was loud and clear: The beer business needs to change, and fast.
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The big breweries stink. Corn and rice and other crap adjuncts in their beer. Close your eyes and drink one and they are all the same, crappy. Craft brews are here to stay and would have never stopped except for Prohibition, when only the big breweries could survive, by selling other things. Americans are finding out what quality craft brews are like and that is the future of beer. We are sick of Bud, Bud light, Miller, Coors, and all the other excuses for real beer.
Im not supprised at all that Anheuser-Busch & Miller/Coors are seeing a down fall in there beer sales. There beer is not "good" beer. It's disgusting! Watery! Flavorless!
At the same time that their beers are slumping in sales, the Micro Brewery business is growing stronger than ever! Coinsidence, I think not.
Good beer with flavor and an alcohol content of more that just 4.5% ABV sells [period]
People want good beer NOT corporate beer.
People are tired of CHEAP beer that taste like water or worse... Thats why Craft beer is taking off and generic pisswater is sitting on the shelf.
Make good quality beer, people will buy it.
No one knows the answers."
It's actually pretty obvious: In this economy, people want to get drunk.
The answer is very simply, your basic bud, miller, coors tastes like crap, people including myself spend extra money on craft beer because it tastes really good. I didn't even start drinking beer until my mid 20s because I thought all beer tastes like bud, wow was I wrong.
Price and Pride--Executives (Highly over paid) sitting around a table worried about making billions over millions is a great place to start look at why their sales are down. They gave up years ago to remain in touch with their customers. Selling out to foreign investment companies didn't help them either. Most of these mico brewers are local boys who know what their looking for in taste and pricing.
Ultra Light, 54 calories---WTH Beer is fattening, no two ways down that road. They just need to get back to making beer that people want to drink and I don't give two cents over transportation costs ($8-$10 for a six pack) when they all have satellite distribution everywhere. Why don't they refund some back to me for driving to the store to buy their product in the first place. I cover my transportation cost.
No one knows the answers? Journalists don't do research anymore? No one knows is good enough? lol.
I am not a journalist, but three paragraphs in (so figure fifteen seconds of thought while reading) and I'm pretty sure I know exactly why sales are down for m****duced, weak, and watery beer.
DUI convictions are becoming a business for a lot of states. The laws are getting tighter and tighter, so it's getting easier every day to convict a person of driving under the influence. The punishments are getting more and more strict, with mandatory jail time being the norm. Screw rehab and education, fine the hell out of the offenders, take their license, throw them in jail with rapists, murderers, drug addicts, and charge them every day they're in there lol. It's a freaking circus.
I am an alcoholic, and since I went through rehab and 'cleaned up' I have never been happier. I don't drink any more, nor do I have any real desire to, but if I were to go out to have a drink it most certainly would not be Miller, Bud, or Coors Light. It would likely be a good Microbrew from a company that takes pride in their product, or a shot 'on the rocks' of a Liquor that is held to an exceptional standard. That's it, any more than two drinks and you're flirting with a DUI. I would imagine that this thought process is very common, and very likely a big contributor to the decrease in sales that these m****duction beer companies are feeling.
Our government will let the Automotive, Oil, and Steel industries get away with murder, but not the beer giants lol. Unless of course they are throwing them a bone by NOT sponsoring any form of alcohol rehabilitation and education programs.
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