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The Booze Bin

Sour Ale: A Beer for Wine Drinkers

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The adult beverage market is as vast as the sea, with ever changing tides to keep marketers on their toes. The explosion of the craft beer movement has brought a lot of recent attention to sour ales, which are popping up all over. Just when you thought you were learning the difference between porter and stout, sour beer is the new kid on the block. Intentionally acidic and/or tart, “sour beers” are the newest trend in alcohol segmentation.

History of Sour Beer

Marketers should understand that many of today’s products have crossover appeal; they are products that target more than one audience. A sour beer so complex, it lures the perpetual wine drinker in for a sip. A spirit aged in beer barrels, so enticing even the most staunch beer drinker would give it a try.

Have you tried Sour Beer yet?

The story of sour ales is almost as old as the story of beer itself. Modern day brewing is a sterile, thoughtful process, but it hasn’t always been so. Before pure yeast cultures were available, brewers of old would use wild yeast to start their…

The Booze Bin

Hot Trend Alert: Mixing It Up with Beer Cocktails

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So I was sitting at one of my favorite watering holes enjoying an Uberlin beer from a local brewery, Strangeways. The bartender said, “Hey, try this,” and proceeded to pour orange juice into my beer. I was disturbed…I mean, why would you want to taint a perfectly delicious beer? Well, it turns out that it’s now my new favorite drink. And, it was instant inspiration for discovering what else is out there in the land of beer mixology!

As the craft beer industry continues to flourish across the U.S. (check out this post on craft beers hitting the big time), it makes perfect sense that breweries and bartenders are looking for new ways to utilize the products that they have at their disposal. Liquor, champagne and even wine are used regularly to create cocktails, so why not beer? Not only do beer cocktails give beer lovers something fresh and unique to experience, these mixed drinks also are a great way for breweries to offer additional options to consumers who may not have a taste for beer. (It’s hard to believe, but those people do exist!) While the concept of “beer-tails” is not exactly new (hello, Corona in…

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Brewing Crisis: When Craft Beer Hits the Big Time

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DB beers

Photo: Heidi Crandall

On April 12, Devils Backbone, an independent brewery located in Nelson County, Virginia, announced they were being purchased by the biggest name in big beer, Anheuser-Busch InBev.

And then, the universe exploded.

Well, maybe not the entire universe. But if you follow craft beer, especially Virginia craft beer, you likely experienced an eruption of opinion across your news and social media feeds. Though the tone ranged from repulsed (“this is disgusting…a cancer in the bloodstream of good beer”) to resigned (“you will be much missed”), the largest, or at least the loudest, reaction from craft beer enthusiasts was that this was not a good thing, and would signal the decline of a quality craft product.

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AB InBev’s recent acquisitions include Blue Point, Elysian, 10 Barrel, and Goose Island Breweries, among others. photo: Eric Helgas for Bloomberg Businessweek

What’s going on:

Devils Backbone is the eighth independent brewery that AB InBev (primarily known for not-so-craft beers like Budweiser, Corona, and Bud Light Lime-a-rita) has acquired since 2011. While their strategy is clearly…

The Booze Bin

Three Important Things to Consider in Wine and Spirits Event Marketing

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Over the past six years at the agency, I’ve had the opportunity to work across a variety of industries, from consumer and technology to education and healthcare. Most recently I’ve broadened my experience into the spirits industry in the capacity of media relations and event marketing for a vodka and whisky brand.

Personally, I found that event marketing for the wine and spirits industry is way different than typical event marketing.

It requires attention to detail and a specialized skill set. Luckily, here at PadillaCRT we have the expertise to strategically provide our wine and spirits clients with ways to connect with their target consumers. For example, for our client Wines from Rioja, we have the know-how to conduct national press tours, sponsorships, tasting parties and media tours in major markets that build brand awareness and drive sales.

The following are three key wine and spirits event marketing learnings I’ve learned:

1. Understand the Three-Tier System: Have you ever wondered how a lovely bottle of wine from overseas makes it into your hands in America? Well, it starts with the three-tier system which is made up of producers, wholesale distributors and retailers. The three-tier system was created after Prohibition…

The Booze Bin

Reviving Beer: Why National Beer Day Matters

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‘Twas the day before #NationalBeerDay, and marketers everywhere

Were scratching their heads and wondering, “Why do we need another made-up “holiday?”

Is it an arbitrary date on the calendar, selected by marketers to increase product promotion?

Does anyone even care?

The story of National Beer day begins during drier times in the United States. Prohibition, which began in 1920, was the nationwide constitutional ban on alcoholic beverages, from production to transportation to purchase. It was repealed 13 years later with the enactment of the Cullen-Harrison Act. Upon signing this legislation, also known as the “Beer Permit Act,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously remarked, “I think this would be a good time for a beer!”

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#NationalBeerDay was born on April 7, 1933

And just like that, FDR inadvertently created National Beer Day on April 7, 1933 – the anniversary of the date the bill took effect.

 But history is only one piece of the puzzle, and smart marketers should look to the future to stay connected with their customers.

EMERGING BEER TRENDS

There was a time when beer reigned supreme in the US, and wine…

The Booze Bin

Malternatives – Marketing Lessons from Alcohol Segmentation

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It seems like only yesterday I was writing about the seemingly out-of-nowhere arrival of Not Your Father’s Root Beer, and the marketing lessons to be learned from their hugely successful launch into the market. But six months have already passed, and we are beginning to see more and more hard soda brands on the shelves, just as we predicted. These beer-slash-soda brands have taken the market by storm, representing one of the most popular new trends in alcohol segmentation: “malternatives” aka flavored alternative malt beverages. Marketing professionals should take note of this influx of new brands and the buzz they generate to discover the lessons hiding just below the bottle caps.

Craft beer bar

“Malternatives” aka flavored alternative malt beverages, may soon be poured at a bar near you

Identify Whitespace

While craft brewers are taking market share away from megabrewers like MillerCoors, the industry titans are firing back with their own new product launches. They’ve honed in on what they see as “whitespace” in the market, opportunities to develop new products in a seemingly untapped category.

According to Bryan Ferschinger, MillerCoors’ director of innovation, “We’re seeing…

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How Millennials Are Shaping the Alcoholic Beverage Industry

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New Year’s Day 2016 rang in a new era for booze marketers: On January 1, all millennials were of legal drinking age.

Millennials are now between 21 and 38 years old and 79 million strong. Even without the last stragglers reaching 21, millennials consumed 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015, according to a recent report on U.S. wine drinkers from the Wine Market Council (WMC). That represents 42 percent of all the wine consumed in this country last year, more than any other age group (Baby Boomers came in second with 114.1 cases).

Last month, I wrote about WMC’s presentation on marketing to women wine drinkers. Wine Spectator’s Ben O’Donnell produced an excellent summary of the WMC millennial data specific to wine in his post here. Building on those metrics, here are my three “a-ha” moments and key takeaways for marketers seeking to reach millennial drinkers:

1. There are two types of millennials

Segmenting millennials into older (30 to 38 years old) and younger (21 to 29 years old) groups reveals substantive behavior differences when looking at wine consumption behavior. Millennials inhabit two significantly different life stages: Younger millennials…

The Booze Bin

Marketing Lessons from the 2016 Boston Wine Expo

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This weekend I had the privilege of attending the 25th annual Boston Wine Expo, the largest wine and food expo in New England. Featuring celebrity chefs and seminars from top experts, the two-day Grand Tasting celebrated how wine has evolved over the last 25 years, and also what wine and food trends are emerging in the coming years.  Considered one of the best food and wine expositions in the US, the Boston Wine Expo featured more than 1,800 wines from more than 200 wineries, and was a great place for marketing professionals to assess the current trends in the booze industry. So what’s hot and what’s not? Below I recap my top three most notable trends from this year’s festivities.

 

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Clever Marketing Tactics 

It’s no secret that millennials are the fastest growing segment of wine drinkers in the United States. According to Wine Market Council (WMC), millennials (defined as those aged between 21 and 38) are now the largest wine-drinking demographic in the US, making up 36% of all US wine drinkers. So for me, one of the stand-out booths came from Troublemaker Wines. The brand is clearly…

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Women and Wine: What does this segmentation really tell us?

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I’m skeptical of old-fashioned segmentation: women, age groups, income levels. With so many data streams accessible and the ability to glean extensive information about consumers, we have an opportunity to reassess how we categorize affinity groups. Emerging fields like ethnography and neuroscience add layers of intelligence and new ways of approaching segments that can guide brand managers and marketers. I wrote about this in 2013 following a conference that I co-created to explore marketing themes in the wine industry, The Exchange. One example: analyzing how mothers and daughters shop together, a prevalent occasion in the Latina community, can enhance how beverage alcohol brands market to this group of potential consumers. That segment can’t be explored by broadly looking at women and wine.

Is simply halving the population enough of a segment to shed light on how to go to market? Can we glean any actionable information from this? The short answer is that it depends.

Last week, I attended a Wine Market Council research conference. The Wine Market Council has been tracking annual wine consumer attitudes and behaviors for two…

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3 Podcasts To Step Up Your Marketing Game

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A whopping 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. I usually cut myself some slack when personal resolutions start to waver, but I have a much harder time letting go of professional goals. One of my 2016 resolves is to listen to one new podcast a week to step up my game as a beverage marketing professional.

I decided to let you in on the resolution and share my January finds. All it takes is 35 minutes of your time. Are you ready?

The EntreLeadership Podcast – Branding Your Story (Episode #103 – listen from minutes 10-16):

Synopsis: Brand guru Donald Miller challenges you to rethink how you are telling your brand’s story. His theory: Companies should not be the hero of the story, but the customer. Brands that understand how they solve the internal problems an external problem creates for consumers (e.g., a broken pipe causes frustration) will excel.

Miller uses political campaigns as an example: G.W. Bush ran on the problem of high taxes (external problem) and “hit a nerve” when he spoke about Americans not being able to send their kids to college because all their money…