The Big Macro-Brewers Just Don’t Get It…

This was brought to my attention by Stephen Beaumont’s World of Beer, as so many great beer tidbits are. This is yet another example of just how lost and ignorant that the big macro-breweries really are. You know these guys, the mass producers of commodity grade, barely has any flavor, yellow fizzy beer. Read more to get the details, but essentially whats up is that the VP of Moosehead has come forward exclaiming that despite the sunny weather, summer beer sales are down.

He continues on to explain that they way to sell beer is by offering something to people that they cant get from that same brand normally.. You know, like FLAVOR! Rather than flavor, Moosehead’s men and women in charge will offer free T-shirts in boxes of beer, or a $5 off coupon to entice consumers to buy their beer. That should convince people to buy the products that they no longer care to drink… right? Thankfully, it is more and more looking like the age of the watered down tasteless beer is coming to and end. Welcome to flavor country people!

As reported by CBC News, “Joel Levesque, Moosehead’s vice-president, said the demographic that drinks the most beer, New Brunswickers aged 19 to 25, is shrinking and despite sunny weather, summer sales are down. He said that had sparked a fierce competition among the big brewers. “You entice people to take your brand by offering something that they can’t get from their brand regularly, for example a T-shirt in the box or in this case, it’s $5 coupons,” he said. Levesque said there would be more discounts as major labels try to clear shelves by Labour Day.”

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3 Responses to The Big Macro-Brewers Just Don’t Get It…

  1. Joel Levesque says:

    I’d like to comment on your post if I may. The CBC clip you posted was only a small portion of my long discussion with the reporter. When I was referring to the practice of enticing consumers with freebies, I was talking about the practices of the large, multi-national brewers who control over 80% of beer sales in Canada. What I told the reporter was that when the big two start giving away $5 coupons,(or hats or shirts) small main-stream brewers like Moosehead are forced to respond in some way to maintain sales. Moosehead is still a private, family-owned business with less than 4% of the Canadian beer market. We will never be a giant brewer with the deep pockets of the big guys. We employ about 300 people at our brewery in New Brunswick and try very hard to be innovative and give our consumers both quality and value. We recognize that the Craft beer industry is very important to beer lovers and is producing some superb product. We admire greatly what the craft brewers are doing. In fact we invested in a craft brewer in Ontario a number of years ago. We have a hands-off approach with that brewer which morphed into Hop City a couple of years ago. Hop City has created two of the hottest craft brews in Ontario — Lawn Chair and Barking Squirrel — both of which have won major awards against some of the acknowledged craft leaders in Canada. In summary, our owners love great beer and are trying hard to do two things well: keep a 143-year old company viable against intense competition from the mass producers AND give the beer-loving public something to celebrate and enjoy. Thanks for your help in keeping beer issues front and centre. Cheers.
    Joel Levesque, Moosehead Breweries

    • I appreciate your clarification Joel. So what is Moosehead doing then to attract consumers? Where do you believe the trends are? Beer sales seem to be following flavor, and leaving bland, lowest common denominator beers. What are your thoughts Joel?

      • Joel Levesque says:

        Steve: Sorry to take so long to get back to you — I was travelling and not checking blogs, etc. as diligently as I should have been. There really isn’t a single answer to your question but I’ll take a stab at giving you some insight into Moosehead’s strategic thinking at this time. First of all we, like you, think that many beer consumers are looking for something “better”. We’ve responded by teaming up with Boston Beer whose products (some of them, at least) we are now distributing across Canada. Our small sales team has managed to increase Sam Adams sales substantially in Canada this year. We are also taking steps to give both our loyal and new consumers some new craft beers. I mentioned Lawn Chair and Barking Squirrel in my original post. Our latest project is the creation of a new Moosehead Special Cask Ale that will be available exclusively at one of our key accounts. You are the first outside of Moosehead to get this news. On the other hand, we can’t lose sight of where most of our revenue comes from. And that, of course, is the everyday or weekend beer consumer who really doesn’t want anything out of the ordinary — just good quality mainstream lagers or ales that he or she has come to rely upon. As I indicated, to maintain our share of this market, we have to use some of the same tried and true marketing techniques that our giant competitors are using. But at the same time, we are trying to be innovative with our packaging, flavours, and with our direct communications and dialogue with consumers. In summary, expect some interesting innovation and some of what you’re used to from Moosehead. Thanks again for promoting beer and for asking our opinions. Cheers!

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