Nov 25 2015
Thanksgiving has barely arrived, yet it seems everyone’s palate is already preparing for the December holiday season. In this time of harvest, you might think pumpkin spice would still reign supreme over all other flavors. But while it seems like only yesterday we were discussing the popularity of pumpkin-flavored everything, consumer demand is driving a push for holiday-flavored beverages. Also known as “winter warmers,” marketing professionals are realizing what an unstoppable force these seasonal flavors can be. With annual seasonal offerings from Summer Shandy’s to Oktoberfest craft brews, let’s take a look at why “winter warmers” are quickly becoming the most popular flavors of the seasonal beverage category.
Fun & Flavorful Varieties
Seasonal selections have actually been around way longer than you may think. In a world of powerfully marketed megabreweries, you may be surprised to learn the tradition of crafting a limited-edition seasonal flavor actually dates back thousands of years. It was during a time when small brewers would craft small batches, usually spiked with familiar flavors of the holiday season, to gift to their friends and customers. Wikipedia cites the ancient Saturnalia Festival as the origin…
Nov 18 2015
You know it, and I know it: Thanksgiving is awesome. The day is all about bonding: with family, with traditions, with food, with conversation, with sports, with fall and with booze. My family has a tradition we like to call “Ye Ol’ Turkey Fry Tailgate, Just like the Pilgrims.” We sit outside around the turkey fryer, talking, laughing, watching football games and drinking beer, wine or Shirley Temples. JUST LIKE THE PILGRIMS! Okay, maybe not, but the concept is the same…connecting, communicating, BE-ing. And while drinking alcohol and watching football were not in the cards of the Pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving Day, it has become a part of our American tradition (lucky for us) and of course, the feast was, and is, the highlight of this wonderful day. So what better way to celebrate these traditions? As an experienced beer drinker, eater and sports fan, I say let’s pair them up! Football. Food. Beer. Ultimate. Thanksgiving. Day.
Game #1: Appetizer Pre-Game
Oct 28 2015
Football season is upon us and I am inevitably thinking about beer. Beer & football go together like peanut butter & jelly, like Cheech & Chong. Football means big business for beer brands, and PR professionals should have brews on their minds as well. Take advantage of halftime to “tap” into these three beer trends that have the marketplace buzzing this season.
Craft Beer Finds Its Footing
Craft beer consumption is on the rise. More and more often, we are seeing Americans opt out of Megabrews in favor of local or domestic craft brews. According to Beverage Information & Insights Group, domestic craft beer sales were up over 15% in 2014, despite that fact that overall beer volume sales actually fell half of a percent from 2013 to 2014. When we’re talking about 2.8 billion cases of beer sold in the US last year, half of a percent accounts for way more beer than you might think. Megabreweries are noticing this shift in consumer purchases. In response to dropping market share, Anheuser Busch (AB InBev) recently announced a deal to acquire MillerCoors for over $104 billion dollars. If…
Oct 21 2015
This year’s wine harvest has ended early. Though it’s estimated the 2015 harvest came in at approximately 3.8 million tons compared to 3.9 million tons last year, one winery isn’t worried about the smaller harvest.
To celebrate the end of the harvest season, Jordan Winery in Sonoma created a fun parody of the upcoming December 18 release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The spoof Cab Wars: The Force of Harvest Awakens, is a hilarious take on harvest season.
As homage for the newest Star Wars film, here are seven wines to pair with the epic series.
1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Love him or hate him, Jar Jar Binks may have been a clumsy outcast, but he had the best intentions to serve. That’s why the semi-sweet, bold and fruity flavor of Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz pairs well for the beginning of the Star Wars saga.
2. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
The galaxy may have been on the brink of civil war, but there was still room for Anakin Skywalker and…
Oct 14 2015
The world beer market just got a little smaller. Yesterday, the two largest brewers in the world – SABMiller and AB InBev – agreed on a merger worth $104.2 billion. The beers that this deal will bring under the same roof make an impressive list: Bud, Bud Light, Corona, Michelob, Stella Artois, Becks, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Coors, Coors Light, Grolsch, Icehouse, Keystone, Milwaukee’s Best, Blue Moon, Foster’s, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, Miller Lite and Miller High Life. And that’s not even all of them.
Reactions are still pouring in: Some predict that this deal will hurt craft brewers, while others see steady opportunities for the craft community despite this epic shift in power. It’s unarguably the biggest news the beer industry’s seen in a long time.
In honor of the historic deal, here are five beer cocktails to sip on featuring signature brands of the merging giants:
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale and sparkling apple cider make this a great beer cocktail for fall gatherings. Place a cinnamon stick in a mason jar; then pour beer until the glass is three quarters full. Top off with cider and a quick squeeze of a lemon.
Oct 7 2015
While I don’t have actual proof, it seems that market researchers have spent more time understanding Millennials – in particular their dining and drinking habits – than any other generation in the past few years. The latest fruit of their labor is an interesting dining model backed by fast food chains and beverage alcohol brands: Fast Casual restaurants (think Chipotle and Fatburger) serving booze. If research is right, a Crunch Wrap Supreme with a Margarita on the side or a Venti glass of wine could be what it takes to get more Millennials in the door. Representing 25 percent of the U.S. population, Millennials mean big business.
The concept isn’t new, but it’s catching on like wildfire right now. Taco Bell just joined the club with its first “Taco Bell Cantina,” serving booze next to tacos in Chicago. Diners can expect a slightly nicer brick-and-mortar location with shareable appetizers, wine, beer and frozen cocktails. A place you’d actually want to eat in – which is the whole point – instead of opting for the drive-through. “Alcohol is a way fast casual restaurants can say ‘we are a…
Sep 23 2015
Ask anyone what makes a crowd-pleasing commercial, and you’ll get two answers: Puppies and babies. In beverage PR, babies are taboo, and puppies are almost synonymous with Budweiser’s Super Bowl ads. Many brands therefore jump on a seasonal flavor trend and ride the popularity wave for said “it” ingredient until the next season comes knocking on their door.
No Pumpkin Backlash in Sight
Since today marks the first day of fall, my curiosity in emerging seasonal flavors is at its peak. Sadly, those flavors must be late to the party, because what I came across in my research is pure “Pumpkinsanity.” Each year, every year, pumpkin (spice) seems to take home the people’s choice award for the most popular fall flavor and dominates the beer aisle of the grocery store. 2015 is no different. According to food industry tracker Mintel, use of pumpkin as an ingredient in beverages alone has grown 130 percent since 2006. Last year, almost four in ten Americans bought a pumpkin-flavored product. Only pie filling was more popular than beer in that flavor category (see infographic). Breweries like Blue Moon are taking note, and are releasing…
Sep 2 2015
One of the most popular products to hit the beverage industry in recent history came in the form of Not Your Father’s Root Beer (NYFRB). This beer-slash-soda brand has taken the market by storm, as it represents one of the newest trends in alcohol, “malternatives” aka alternative malt beverages (usually artificially flavored). Social media has been in a tizzy as consumers frantically search for it on the shelves of their local retailers. The consumer is truly engaged with the product and shares updates about where to find it and what it taste likes. Instagram feeds flooded with photos of the bottles with captions such as “YES! Finally, was able to get my hands on some. Now to see if the hype is true” and “I tried it and like it! #NotYourFathersRootbeer.” One NJ liquor store posted: “Not Your Father’s Root Beer is back in stock. Limit one six-pack per person. Don’t wait it will be gone in a day or two.”
But why has this brand been so successful and what can we learn from their product launch? Not Your Father’s Root Beer…
Aug 26 2015
According to Global License, food and beverage licensing grew 9.5 percent representing $8.04 billion in licensed merchandise in 2010. It remains to be a growth segment today and increasingly you see it in brand extensions in the craft beer industry.
From Fulton Brewery and New Belgium Brewing to Brewery Ommegang and 21st Amendment Brewery, a number of breweries are partnering with big brands like Wheaties, HBO, Ben & Jerry’s, and Count Chocula to create craft beers to reach broader audiences.
Here are three ways your brand can improve consumer brand awareness with a strategic beer partnership:
1. Get creative and forge authentic partnerships.
Just listen to these creative beer descriptions: 21st Amendment’s homage to Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts with its release of Toaster Pastry, an India-style Red Ale, New Belgium’s Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream inspired Salted Caramel Brownie and Fulton’s Wheaties and Hefewizten beer, HefeWheaties.
Although not technically a licensing deal, the Wheaties brand extension didn’t come out of nowhere. The idea for the limited-edition HefeWheaties came about because Fulton has close ties to General Mills, which owns Wheaties. It also doesn’t hurt that the two Minneapolis companies use…