Dear Client: Recently I opined that perhaps the most important metric for gauging a beer brand’s performance is the year-over-year change in dollar market share.  I’d like to explain why, because it occurs to me that while I’ve been reporting on this for 20+ years, we have a hella lot of newcomers who may not … Continue reading “How Chasing Volume Rather Than Dollar Share Killed My Father”

Dear Client:  Earlier this week we wrote that Nude, Western Canada’s best selling seltzer brand, was set to roll out across America after having seeded some U.S. markets quietly in the first half.  The company shared its heavy-hitter distributor lineup with BBD, including Columbia, Sheehan, Reyes, Breakthru and more.  We talked with CEO Julius Makarewicz … Continue reading “Nude Wants To Be the No. 3 U.S. Seltzer Player”

Dear Client: BBD has learned that Anheuser-Busch is striking a “strategic partnership” with indie whisky peddler Sazerac Company, who owns Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. (Mind-bogglingly, Fireball is the fourth-largest spirits brand — and yet, it’s up around 19% in value and volume the 52 weeks through August in IRI.)  It’s all part of A-B’s intent to … Continue reading “A-B Strikes Partnership with Sazerac for New Fireball and SoCo FMBs”

Dear Client: After yesterday’s news of Canada’s popular Nude seltzer brand setting its sights on the U.S., we wondered: When the heck might Mark Anthony use White Claw to conquer the world? So we asked chief Phil Rosse about international expansion plans.  They’ve already started to make their mark on Canada, with some European markets … Continue reading “White Claw is Ready to Conquer the Globe”

Dear Client: So naturally it happened. It’s been a constant in my career. I report on the success of a brand (like Busch Light), and a few folks who compete against that brand say, “Hey why are so biased toward [whatever brewer]?”  In this case I’m apparently biased against Molson Coors, which I’m sure gives … Continue reading “Despite Inventory Issues, Molson Coors Wins Share Game with A-B — By Losing Less”

Dear Client: Whew!  Wow! I didn’t expect the amount of feedback on our story about how Busch Latte is en fuego and everybody seems to know why (because it ain’t pricing — trust me, we always check that first).   Yes, it turns out that EVERYBODY and their cousins have theories — even and especially blue-silver … Continue reading “Grokking the Busch Light Phenom”

Dear Client: In the week ending August 8, off-premise beer sales increased 13.8%, slightly below the previous week’s growth rate of 14.2%, according to scans from Nielsen.  Of course, seltzers continue to rule the day.   So to stop sounding like a broken record, we decided to go old school for this piece and just focus … Continue reading “The Busch Light Conundrum”

Dear Client: Yesterday, Wine and Spirits Daily broke news that the largest platform for bev alc e-commerce, Drizly, announced it has closed a $50 million Series C funding round.  But the news here isn’t really this latest round of funding. It’s more that almost 10% of off-premise alcohol sales are happening through e-commerce right now.  Drizly … Continue reading “From Chains to Distributors, Get Ready to Work with Drizly”

Dear Client: Forget the concept of “loss leaders,” where retailers cut price on strategic packages to increase traffic and steal customers from competitors. Maybe we’re witnessing the rise of “beer beacons”: Perversely full shelves of in-demand products like White Claw (at regular price) to ensure shoppers visit. Because if there’s one thing a consumer wants … Continue reading “Behold, the Wall ‘O Claw”

Dear Client: We’ve heard this issue from several wholesalers over the last week:  Off-premise chain retailers hoarding up on the big hard seltzer brands that are in short supply — particularly White Claw and Truly — so that they won’t run out, starving out smaller indie stores. Distributors are all on allocation, but the big … Continue reading “Distributors Are on Allocation on Seltzers, But Retailers are Hoarding”

Dear Client: “Last year, when we told A-B they needed to get in on this seltzer craze, they didn’t seem that interested. That has changed bigtime,” a distributor told A-B.  Now they are going “all in” on seltzers.   First in the queue is Bud Light Platinum Seltzer. It wouldn’t have been our first guess. Michelob … Continue reading “A-B Going Seltzer Crazy”

Dear Client: Hard seltzers so far largely mimic the classic vodka-soda, with fruit hints added.  While they appear to men and women alike, some find that recipe too sweet or cloying.  But as we know, companies are racing to fill any and all hard seltzer niches out there to differentiate themselves in what is quickly … Continue reading “Finally, a Seltzer for Caballeros”

Dear Client: For this piece, we look to Aristotle’s classic method of call and response, where we look at a recent beer distributor survey conducted by Bonnie Herzog and her team at Goldman Sachs regarding non-alc players getting into the hard seltzer business, and then we give you our take on what the distributors said.   … Continue reading “Grokking the Monster/Topo Seltzer Issue with Distributors”

Dear Client: After we reported the story that Reyes’ Chicago Beverage Systems was going to merge with their craft-centric sister company, Windy City, I got several messages from readers suggesting this was a shot across the bow of all the other blue-silver-gold distributors in the area — traditionally called the “MillerCoors cluster” — that Reyes … Continue reading “Breakthru Bypasses Reyes in Chicago”

Dear Client: It ain’t happening.  Yet.  Back in the economic crises of 2001 and 2008, economy/budget beer really started to kick it up a notch.  In this crash, which is much worse, particularly now as federal government subsidy checks dry up, the economy segment is curiously not only still losing share, but its rate of … Continue reading “Still Waiting on the Budget Beer Boom”