2 Beer Guys Blog

Welcome to the 2 Beer Guys Blog! Here, you will be able to read our stories and adventures as we travel through the world of craft beer.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On the alert for Craft Beer imposters!!

This article reminds me why the 2Beerguys and Family is a very important asset to our beer drinking friends. Selecting a beer can be really confusing and over whelming when going to a sports event, concert, or a local store. So many choices and different beers to purchase, the tension can lead to a bad pairing (between the drinker and the brew). Remember, the Beerguys are here to help. Take the plunge and try something that you haven't seen or heard about. Maybe you will like it.

(OK, I am probably the LAST person that you ever thought would say those words together. )

You selection might lead you to an amazing craft beer treasure, like Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout, or a faux-kraft, such as A-B's Winter Bourbon Cask Ale. Unless you have a friend to help you out, how would you know that Anheuser-Busch produces the Bourbon Cask Ale. We challenge you to find YOUR "treasure".

On another note, it's rather humorous to see A-B / Michelob and craft beer in the same sentence. I guess craft beer lovers, such as ourselves, should be thankful for the "Big Guys" with their craft beer expansion. Although it causes customer confusion, it does convince smaller stores to carry "craft" beer. This creates shelf space in your local gas station and watering hole for a craft offering. You win some and you lose some. With knowledge and support, we can help win this battle!!

Well, that's enough for my rant today.

Take the plunge, enjoy a delicious beer (while you watch Beauty and the Geek!!).



Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Category Wars: A-B, Miller And Coors Craft Image Of Being The Little Guy

Once the domain of small players, segment now gets some big competition.
December 03, 2007
By Mike Beirne

The craft segment has gotten even more crowded, which has the independent brewers that once dominated the category feeling muscled.

Last month, Anheuser-Busch's Michelob decided that, after 111 years, it is now a craft beer. And the affront from what independents deem "faux-kraft" beers keeps coming.

Brands like Coors' Blue Moon, A-B's Wild Hop and even Miller's Leinenkugel's are carefully positioned as craft brands while their big brewer affiliations are purposely kept conspicuous.

The reason the big brewers are joining the party? Case sales of craft beers are up 17.1% at food, drug, liquor and c-stores for the year ended Nov. 3 compared with a 0.08% increase for the overall category, per Nielsen.

Craft brewers, which have limited budgets and less leverage with distributors than larger competitors, are concerned. "On a supermarket shelf, that's where the lines start to blur. That could hurt if the person shopping has a peripheral understanding of what is craft," said Joe Whitney, director of sales and marketing at Sierra Nevada, Chico, Calif.

"The noncraft brewers have different economies of scale and better access to ingredients and distribution," said Julia Herz, craft beer marketing director at the Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo. "They get preferential treatment."

Michelob will spend $30 million next year recasting itself as a member of the craft segment. Michelob's entire portfolio sold 450 million cases, per IRI, for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 24. Comparatively, craft category leader Boston Beer last year shipped 49 million cases, per Beer Marketer's Insights.

Michelob's "Crafting a better beer" ads will even mimic Boston Beer's Sam Adams ads. TV spots, via Euro RSCG Worldwide, New York, will feature A-B employees talking about Michelob ingredients.

Considering beer fads come and go (like low-carb, ice, red and dry beers), the move could be a risky one for Michelob, said Simon Sinek, president of Sinek Partners, a consultancy in New York. "They're betting the whole farm on a trend."

But Gary Fish, founder and president of Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore., sees the exposure as favorable for the whole category. "If they can convert a Bud drinker into a Widmer drinker, then that person might be amenable to trying Deschutes."

The craft brewers are battling back, albeit on a smaller level. New Belgium launched a national print campaign, "Follow your folly," in April. Cultivator Advertising & Design, Denver, handles.

Sierra Nevada also is about a year away from beefing up it marketing presence.

The A-B owned Redhook, meanwhile, introduced its first ad campaign, "The Hoppily Drinkable IPA"—via TM Advertising, Irving, Texas—for Long Hammer IPA. Redhook is among the brewers now excluded from the Brewers Association's new definition that a craft beer must be at least 75% independently owned. "It's not about beer versus beer; it's about being forthright about who is behind these brands," said Herz.

New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo., annually conducts surveys and focus groups asking participants whether they knew that Coors made Blue Moon. "It's always a split," said Greg Owsley, New Belgium's chief branding officer. "The drinkers that crave authenticity as much as flavor are disappointed, but others are not concerned because it's a good beer.

"The two groups tend to have a demographic split between baby boomers, who don't care, and Gen Y and Gen X consumers, who feel they've been duped."

Link to article.

P.S. Here's a link to an additional article that discusses Michelob's craft beer battle. (click here)


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