Posted on May 7, 2012 in Advocacy by Josh
From flickr user whiskeychicken1
Having a calm Monday? You won’t be after you read about how a Budweiser distributor in Tennessee is bullying a small-time brewer.
The war for tap space has been going for a long time, but Calfkiller Breweing Company is being attacked on a whole new level. From the brewery:
Grab your Kool aid kids and take a seat. Here’s the story of Calfkiller Brewing Company, and Budweiser of TN.
Once upon a time there was this little guy (Calfkiller Brewing Company). A very honest hard working little guy with a dream to make great beer that folks could enjoy. After many years of hard work this dream became reality. Slowly but surely the little guy was rubbing shoulders with the big guys in the market place. All was well…….or so they thought.
So what happened that was so outrageous? Well:
Over the years the little guy has purchased used kegs from all across the country. A few examples would be unclaimed freight auctions, breweries that have closed, or keg companies that sell new, used, and refurbished kegs. Anyone can purchase these, and Calfkiller has done it as well. Everything from website sales to store fronts in public with huge signs by the road for everyone to see. LEGIT businesses! So Calfkiller has been using kegs like these from day one.
Smooth sailing and all has seemed well…..until about a month ago! That’s when the “Budweiser keg police” began trying to strong arm the little guy. Now no one is sure really why. Maybe they simply want the entire market. Maybe they simply don’t like the little guys. Maybe they got their first quarter reports for 2012, and noticed the little guy had taken a piece of their pie. The only thing the little guy knows for sure is the truth isn’t in them so it does no good to ask questions at Budweiser in TN.
So the big monopoly Budweiser has started walking in to accounts, and simply taking the little guys kegs! FLIRTING WITH SLANDER they have told business owners that Calfkiller had stole the kegs.
There’s not much Calfkiller can do, and even less that we can do. But we can share it, spread the word, and turn this into a PR disaster for Budweiser. A major multi-national corporation is bullying a locally-owned small business because they make better beer.
Posted on April 12, 2011 in Business by Josh
From flickr user michaelallroy under a CC license
Beers like Natty Lite, Miller Lite, Bud Light, and PBR are getting a price increase to drive cheap-beer lovers toward more expensive brands. Macrobrewers expect this will mean a transition to beers like Budweiser or other brands they own, but I can’t help but think it will also drive them to craft brewers.
I’d expect breweries like Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada to be beneficiaries of the move, mostly because they’re on many of the same shelves. Also, in states where you can actually get it, Yuengling will probably also see a nice boost in sales.
As brand manager for Keystone Light, Elina Vives would seem to be in a tough spot these days. The below-premium beer made big gains in the past few years as the economy tanked. But with trends improving, MillerCoors, along with Anheuser Busch, is raising prices on budget beers in a move to get drinkers to trade up to more-expensive brews such as Miller Lite and Bud Light, which struggled in the recession.
“What they’re really trying to do, both of them, is drive business to the premium brands where they make more money,” said Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer’s Insights. But for Keystone, which is owned by MillerCoors, that could mean losing momentum that made it one of the fastest share gainers in all of beer. So what’s a brand manager to do?
Also, as a side note, I had no idea Bud Light was so much more popular than Miller Lite. It’s all bad, but when I’m somewhere and don’t have much of a choice, I always grab Miller Lite first.
Posted on November 17, 2010 in brewing by Josh
From flick user david.nikonvcanon
While organic brewing is still a small percentage of brewing worldwide, it’s never been truly organic. Previously, rules allowed for beer — which, at its purest, only has a small number of ingredients — to be brewed with non-organic hops. There were certain large brewers who like this because it allowed them to use cheap, non-organic ingredients in mass produced beer, all while lableing it “organic.”
Well, no more. Macro brewers like Budwesier recently lost a fight with the The National Organic Standards Board, forcing hops to be organic when used in organic beer. TreeHugger writes:
The watered down standards were enacted because at the time most organic hops was grown in New Zealand and Europe and flown back to the US. Today, organic hops farmers are popping up across the country so it’s an ideal time to tighten the requirements (which seemed downright misleading in the first place).
The USDA had initially recommended back in September that the measure not be repealed but this week the NOSB voted unanimously to make the change effective January 1, 2013. Prior to this new standard, if a beer was completely organic than the label would read 100 percent organic.
Posted on September 23, 2010 in Business by Josh
USA Today reports on the latest ad strategy for faltering Budweiser: giving their beer away and hoping people buy it later.
To appeal to the under-30 set that has ignored the brand — but is a prime consumer group for beer — Budweiser will unleash its biggest-ever national free-sample effort in trendy bars and eateries. The campaign begins Monday, with the slogan “Grab some Buds.”
The hype culminates on Sept. 29, when the brand hosts the “Budweiser National Happy Hour,” a bid by Bud to nudge folks to at least try a free brewski. The free samples for those 21 and up range from 6 ounces to 12 ounces, depending on state and local rules.
They know how things have changed in the last 10 years, and craft beer is a major problem for them.
The promotion comes as upscale consumers are turning to craft beers, the price-conscious are trading down, and others switched to light beers. “It’s a triple whammy,” says Michael Bellas, CEO at Beverage Marketing.
Executives at Anheuser-Busch, a wholly owned subsidiary of Belgium-based Anheuser–Busch InBev, insist they can reignite interest from younger drinkers with an image upgrade and a reintroduction via sampling.
I’m not sure which “trendy bars” they’re referring to, but trendy has meant craft beer or high-end cocktails. I’m not sure how Budweiser fits with any of that.
Posted on August 23, 2010 in Business by Josh
From Flickr user Joel Abroad
Bad news in St. Louis as the Post Dispatch reports on the marketing issues that are swallowing Budweiser, causing a generation to ignore it completely:
Anheuser-Busch knows it has a Budweiser problem. The beer’s share of the U.S. market peaked in 1988 at 26 percent, sinking to 9.3 percent last year. Even more troubling for A-B is that Budweiser seems at risk of being forgotten by an entire generation. Four out of 10 people in their mid-20s have never even tried Budweiser — a rate 2.5 times higher than when it reigned supreme, according to the company.
But gaining traction at home has proven difficult. “We know we have a lot of work to do, especially in the United States,” said A-B InBev chief marketing officer Chris Burggraeve during a recent analysts’ conference call. “But I can assure you that we’re energized and completely committed to stabilizing the brand in its home market.”
That task falls to Peacock, head of the A-B InBev’s U.S. operations.
Peacock, standing on stage at Maryville University, sounded indignant when a question from the audience cast doubt on how Budweiser could be saved. The questioner was a man who appeared to be in his 20s, his sideburns long and his eyeglasses fashionable dark frames — precisely the kind of drinker that Budweiser wants to win back. But the man said he doesn’t see Budweiser being consumed when he’s out. He sees craft beer.
The PBR phenomenon has always amazed me, simply because I would rather drink Budweiser than PBR. While I’ve learned not to draw market-wide conclusions from my own anecdotal experiences, this does seem to be something of a brand issue more than a product issue.
Is Budweiser now the Oldsmobile of beer? For many 20-somethings, their parents and grandparents may enjoy it, but it’s never something they would buy.
Posted on February 24, 2010 in Design by Josh
Flickr user Roadsidepictures has assembled a fantastic collection of “old” advertising, a lot of which contains vintage beer ads and package designs. It’s great to look back at some of this stuff, which makes you remember just how narrow beer choices have been for decades. Almost everything there is some type of light American lager, a history written by Pabst, Coors, and Budweiser.
I also couldn’t help but think that if I were starting a microbrewery today, I’d seriously consider reviving and old brand instead of trying to come up with a clever brewery name. I know Buckeye Beer in Ohio has worked to do just that, but the flagship product is unfortunately sub-par and tastes like it probably did in 1972.
Below are a few of my personal favorites, but you can check out all the beer-related photos right here.
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