‘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 It was repealed 13 years later with the enactment of the Cullen-Harrison Act.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!”
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 & spirits were just a side thought. But today, megabrewers are losing market share to these other segments, including craft. Beer as a category posted negative growth in 2015 (-.2%), while wine and spirits are seeing significant growth at beer’s expense.
Within the beer category, megabrew sales were down in volume in 2015, while craft brews grew by more than 12% volume and imports grew by over 6%. Beer brands have had to be scrappy and creative to stand out in the market.
So how does a beer brand stand out from the crowd? One method is to diversify into other beverage alcohol segments: launching hard ciders and other apple flavored brews (i.e. Bud Light Apple and Apple-Rita), specialty gluten-free beer varieties, and hard sodas (aka malternatives).
Another market-snatching method comes in the form of deploying occasion-based alternative packaging; from tetra packs to 187ml single serving sized-bottles & cans of wines, to retro bottles from beer brands that breed nostalgia and boost sales. Miller Lite recently tried this tactic with the re-launch of their vintage steine bottles. Limited edition packaging is a proven way to encourage sales, especially among millennials. We all seem to want what is rare or special.
Know your Audience
Despite flat beer sales, there is still significant interest in beer from audiences across all market segments, from millennials to veterans. Even professional athletes are getting in on it. NBA all-star Chris Bosh has written about beer on his personal blog, and has teamed up with Dog Fish Head Brewing (one of the largest microbreweries in the U.S.) to discuss booze and brews.
Vacationers love beer, too. Or at least Carnival Cruise Line is banking on it. They are launching the first-ever brewery at sea in North America, on their Carnival Vista ship. Beers will be developed to reflect the local vibes of ship’s ports of call, bringing an oceanic twist to drinking local.
And if all of that isn’t enough reason to reach for a brew this afternoon, on the eve of National Beer Day, sip on this: drinking booze is good for the economy. In 2012, the federal government collected $9.7 billion in revenue from excise taxes on distilled spirits, beer, and wine. Billion. With a B.
In the end, #NationalBeerDay is about being a part of a conversation. Consumers have a tremendous selection of alcoholic beverages when they shop at their favorite retailer (or order from their favorite delivery app). Social media platforms are the perfect place to engage with customers. Brands can use the unique hashtag #NationalBeerDay to join the conversation. But it is also as a means of social listening. Don’t just talk at a community; listen to what they’re saying. They’re sharing their thoughts and opinions for free.