Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 5, 2013 03:45 PM
If you need help with beer, college students might just be the best people to ask for advice.
That seems to be the thinking behind Anheuser-Busch InBev's new research lab, appropriately dubbed the Bud Lab, at the University of Illinois. The analytics center in the school's research park on its Champaign-Urbana campus will use data to "solve problems ranging from assortment optimization, social media and market trends to large-scale data initiatives," according to a statement on the school's website.
This will give Bud a “permanent presence on campus,” Claudio Garcia, AB InBev's chief people and technology officer, told Ad Age — but not in a college marketing sense. The research won’t be about consumption but about tapping into the bright young academics who are studying statistics, computer science, business and engineering to help the brewer solve some of the challenges that it's facing.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 9, 2013 05:45 PM
Walmart Doubling Efforts on Alcohol Sales
Wal-Mart told 500 adult-beverage industry reps last September that the company wanted to double its alcohol sales by 2016. Since then, it has put extra effort into its beer sales, doubling its amount of alcohol buyers to a dozen and offering up discounts on a wide range of brands, Bloomberg reports.
“We’re seeing dramatic increases in sales,” Steve Bailey, vice president of chain accounts for Columbia Distributing, which supplies beer to about 90 Walmart stores in Washington and Oregon, told Bloomberg. That has caused Columbia—and likely plenty of other distributors—to pay closer attention to Walmart.
The retailer has made their beer displays more prominent, even selling brews in some of its gardening centers, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. That doesn't bode well for competing retailers like Costco, BJ's and ever small-town convenience store across the US.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 12, 2013 06:37 PM
A beer can memorializing the US Army's victory in World War II is not unthinkable. A beer can memorializing the US Army's victory in World War II targeted solely at the Chinese market is a little less likely. Yet, there it is.
"World War Two Edition in memory of US Army" reads the English on the side of a green Pabst Blue Ribbon can now on sale at select groceries in China. Under a stoic photo of a helmet-clad soldier's face, the exclamation "Yes we can!"
The "Yes we can!" cans come in a variety of US Army soldiers, including grizzled guy on a beachhead, grizzled guy on a battlefield, and grizzled guy introspectively looking heavenward as a (French?) town behind him burns.Continue reading...
news you can booze
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 15, 2013 04:04 PM
Everyone wants a piece of the craft beer industry, from big beer brands to major league ball clubs. But these days, it's getting harder and harder to tell a true craft brew from ones just made to look the part.
The most recent faux-craft siting occured at Yankee Stadium, where a vendor operating as "Craft Brew Destination" was in fact selling "craft" beers made by MillerCoors. Blogger Amanda Rykoff sounded off about the misinformation, noting MillerCoors beers (whether they're labeled craft or not) don't exactly fit into the Brewers Association’s definition of a craft brewer, which limits production to six million barrels or less and demands independent ownership. As NPR notes, the Yankees have been shamed into renaming the stand Beer Mixology Destination, a collection of words that mean pretty much nothing other than “Beer Here!”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 5, 2013 06:30 PM
Gun Company Fires Back at Tommy Guns Vodka
Chicago mobsters back in the days of Al Capone favored a submachine gun known as the Tommy gun, which was then glorified in plenty of films and books about the era. But Tommy guns aren’t some relic of history. Saeilo Enterprises still makes them, and the owners aren’t very happy with Alphonse Capone Enterprises and its Tommy Guns Vodka, which is sold in a bottle shaped like the famous gun.
In fact, they are so annoyed that a lawsuit has been filed, the Chicago Tribune reports. Saeilo wants all of the Tommy Guns Vodka that is left to be turned over so it can all be destroyed. (Consumption counts as destroying, right?)Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 22, 2013 06:30 PM
Newcastle Gets Real
Newcastle has taken a new tack in its advertising and it’s all about turning old beer advertising on its head. Beer marketers love to throw “heritage” imagery at consumers to make beer drinkers feel like they are part of something bigger, so Newcastle decided to go back to its roots, the English town of Newcastle, where residents—known as Geordies—are filled with humor and realism. The result? Newcastle’s “No Bollocks” ad campaign.
“If you look at the Geordies, they’re very friendly, down-to-earth; they don’t take themselves too seriously, and tell it like it is. We figured that is a really interesting space for us to be in," says Newcastle Brown Ale Brand Director Charles van Es, according to Fast Company's FastCoCreate blog. "We wanted to use that wit and dry sense of humor as our brand voice. We want to be transparent about the fact that we’re marketing to you and the fact that our beer comes from England.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 19, 2013 02:37 PM
Hipsterrific U.S. beer brand Pabst Blue Ribbon and surfing powerhouse O’Neill could have had a legal battle, but the chill brands instead decided to pound it out and make some money together.
O’Neill turned out a new surf look recently that caused someone in the Pabst legal department to give them a call to note that O’Neill was getting a little too close for comfort to the logo for Pabst, which is owned by the enterprising bunch at Metropoulos & Co., the company that just linked up with Apollo Global Management to buy the rights to Twinkies for $410 million.
But instead of a brouhaha, the two companies decided (no doubt over a cold one) to chill out and partner on a co-branded line of clothing.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 8, 2013 06:12 PM
Miller Lite is turning to an old page in its playbook, with a new gang of celebrities designed to boost the flagging brew in a fresh slate of TV commercials served up on another iconic platter for the franchise, "Miller Time." The new go-to guys for Miller Lite include Vince Vaughn, Ken Jeong, Chuck Liddell and Questlove.
But interestingly, Miller brand managers say that their new campaign (watch below) will not seek to trade too heavily on the appeal or persona of any one of its new stable of celebrity pitch people. One ad wonders what it would be like to hang out with actor Jeong, who will star in the upcoming Hangover Part III—but he's self-deprecating in the spot.
"Celebrity is not our strategy," Con Williamson, chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, the agency behind the campaign, told Ad Age. "Our strategy is solely focused on Miller Time." That, of course, will leave Miller strategically opposed to the growing number of tight tie-ups between beverage brands and individual celebrities, including Justin Timberlake and Bud Light Platinum, Taylor Swift and Diet Coke, and Beyonce and Pepsi.Continue reading...