The BBC today has a good article on how beermakers are hoping to combat falling sales through innovative products. Though the article targets Great Britain, similar strategies could be used in the US:
Overall UK beer sales are falling, with about 161 million fewer pints sold in pubs between July and September compared with the same period a year ago, a fall of 8.1%, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.
Beer sales in supermarkets and off-licences fell 6% over the same period. The gloomy figures are partly being put down to drinkers’ worries over whether they can afford a pint or two. But it is a climate in which firms say they have to keep developing new products and, some argue, gimmicks, to win customers.
SABMiller – which brews brands such as Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell and Peroni Nastro Azzurro – has hired a team to work on new products and packaging in the quest to reignite interest.
Increasing sales involves creating hype around a new product, not just repackaging an old one. However, the product can’t stray too far from a traditional expectation of what comprises beer, otherwise it won’t sell. Here are some of the things that SABMiller and others have recently marketed successfully, according to the article:
–Midnight Chill, a black lager released in Russia.
–A pineapple version of Snow, a Chinese beer.
–Miller Chill, a US beer flavored with salt and lime to tap into south-of-the-border tastes.
–Traditional cider, now served over ice (UK).
–Guinness Red, a lighter version of the traditional black drink.
–Heineken put widgets into cans of Fosters and Kronenburg 1664, to great success and a £1 markup.
Why hasn’t a similar article been published in the United States? Because we’re still drinking away at near-normal rates. Thankfully, we haven’t had to make a choice between food and beer–yet.