BEER COMPANIES BATTLING FOR RELEVANCE
Consumer Trend Thursdays
February 28th, 2019
If you were paying close attention to this year’s Super Bowl ads, you probably recall Bud Light’s (AB InBev) swipe at competitors Coors and Miller (owned by Molson Coors) for using corn syrup in their brewing process. But what you may not know is that move likely torpedoed a joint effort by America’s brewers to get Americans back to drinking more beer.
Why the Beer Industry is Under Threat
—When Americans drink, they’re now are more likely to choose a cocktail or a glass of wine over a beer. A study by the Beer Institute found Americans choose to drink beer just 49.7 percent of the time, a figure that was over 60 percent in the mid-1990s. For 21- to 27-year-old drinkers, that figure has dropped from 65 percent in 2006 to just 43 percent. And declines have been even sharper for mass brewers as beer drinkers increasingly opt for growing craft options.
—That trend inspired the country’s top brewers to discuss a joint, brand-agnostic advertising campaign similar to what the dairy industry did with “Got Milk?” But after its spat with AB InBev, Molson Coors pulled out of discussions on the project.
—Brewers are buffeting themselves against the continuance of this trend by investing in new beverages. AB Inbev recently acquired Cutwater Spirits, which makes spirits and canned cocktails, the latter of which experienced a 356 percent growth in sales for the company in 2018. Molson Coors is launching cannabis beverages in Canada later this year through a joint venture with cannabis company HEXO Corp.
—Every day, we give massive amounts of information to tech companies on every facet of our lives: how we work, eat, sleep, shop and socialize. Companies, in turn, then make massive profits off of this information through selling products, services and, especially, advertising.
The Must-Have Conversation
Beer, of course, isn’t at risk of extinction. We have been drinking the stuff in some form for around 7,000 years. But beermakers are dealing with what every industry is faced with today: sudden shifts in consumer tastes as new trends and products go from unknown to mainstream seemingly overnight. Today, it’s canned spirits and cannabis. Tomorrow, it may be vinegar cocktails. Brewers in the meantime will continue to utilize acquisitions and partnerships to be ready with whatever it is Americans are drinking, be it in a pint glass or not.
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