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Big Beer losing further ground to Craft. Ads less effective

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by Zhiguli, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (490) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    So basically the same thing as Bud Light Platinum.
    kristougher likes this.
  2. Domingo

    Domingo Champion (945) Colorado Apr 23, 2005


    Sure, but nearly a full % ABV stronger. A 6% light beer is crazy. A 7% one is like opening a rift in time :p
  3. “Also, if I recall correctly Blue Moon is technically a lager.”

    I had never heard that Blue Moon was brewed with a lager yeast. Do you have a source for this information?

    Below is some information from a former brewer at Sandlot Brewing (where Blue Moon was first brewed in 1995). The brewer makes mention of a neutral ale yeast. Maybe Blue Moon is now brewed with a lager yeast?

    Cheers!

    Blue Moon Belgian White was first sold commercially as Belly Slide Belgian White at the SandLot Brewery at Coors Field during the 1995 opening season.

    We did do a little fine tuning of the recipe, which was developed by Dr. Keith Villa of Coors R&D. Mostly to do with the ratio of Orange Peel to Corriander.

    The amounts of grains we used are roughly:
    50% 2 row pale malt. (The first couple of batches were made with Great Western)
    40% white wheat malt
    10% flaked oats.

    Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hops were added for a 90 minute boil. Bittering should be around 17.5 IBU. Only one addition.

    Blue Moon has always used pre-ground corriander and Valencia orange peel. Keith did not want the bitterness of Curacao oranges. He preferred the sweetness of the ground Valencia.

    Try 1.25 tsp of ground corriander added to the kettle 10 minutes before the end of boil. This is for a 5-6 gallon batch.

    Add 0.33tsp of ground Valencia orange peel 5 minutes before the end of boil.

    The Chico strain would work well in this recipe. You want a neutral taste from the yeast. Keith has said that the flavors that should come through are the orange peel and corriander, not the yeast.

    Be careful when lautering. I have made this recipe and some variations of it in three different pubs, with three different systems. I usually have trouble and end up sticking the mash. Run off very slowly

    I worked for Coors as the Brewmaster of SandLot Brewery from 1995-1997.

    I signed a non-disclosure/non-compete agreement that was good for one year after I left their employment. I asked about this situation when I was hired. I was told that nothing really stays secret in the industry for over a year.

    The Blue Moon Recipe is pretty much the same as many other wit beers as far as the percentage of grains. Keith has mentioned the Valencia oranges in interviews. He also talked about using Hallertauer Mittlefrueh hops and ale yeast.

    I am not giving away any trade secrets. The only thing really new is the ratio of corriander to orange peel. That is based on my work with the recipe post SandLot. I changed it a bit when I brewed it at the pubs I worked in after I left Coors.

    I did not brew for over a year after I parted with Coors. I worked for Five Star as Director of Brewery Services. I did honor my non-disclosure/non-compete agreement.

    What the recipe is now, I have no idea. What I posted above is how it was made 13 years ago.
    Sesmu and Roguer like this.
  4. SShelly

    SShelly Savant (305) Oregon Sep 20, 2008


    To further clarify, they are distributed by houses that are AB independent houses, not houses owned by AB which only do AB/CBA products and are not allowed to carry independent brands. Big distinction, quite a few of the independents have had to pick up craft in the last 5-10 years in order to maintain market share (mainly in metropolitan areas).

    ADDITION: oh and for most of the west coast Sierra actually uses Miller/Coors independents, along with Lagunitas/Stone/whole long list of other large craft breweries that are in no way owned by BMC.
  5. Roguer

    Roguer Champion (890) Connecticut Mar 25, 2013

    Sure, not crafty from the perspective of hiding their parentage, but crafty from the perspective of trying to cash in on the craft beer preferences? Black Crown advertisements are clearly trying to cash in on an outsider's image, and emphasize "taste" repeatedly. Batch 19 and Third Shift even more so: they're not as obviously BMC products (that includes Batch 19 tap handles), and I think it's fairly obvious that they're trying to eat into the craft share.

    I'm not sure if they really follow the mold of super-premiums, either - or at least not all of them. I mean, yes, because they're lagers, but the naming convention and labeling seems different. Bud Ice, Bud Dry, Bud Select (and 55), Platinum...these are (or were) all "special" Budweiser releases. I suppose Black Crown (aside from the marketing) does follow that trend, but certainly not Batch 19, 3rd Shift, etc.

    They're more like the AB-Inbev owned brews like Killians, IMO, where even though it's big-boy brewing, they're trying to appeal to a segment of the population that's bored with standard AALs - and that's what confuses me, because they still brew lagers. They're just lagers with more caramel, or (say, Bud Ice) higher ABV. IOW, if the craft beer drinker ISN'T the target audience for Batch 19 et al....then who is?
  6. I would respond to this but I just gave myself a concussion from facepalming so hard.
    StuartCarter likes this.
  7. Well, the Budweiser line-extensions you mention weren't really super-premiums - or, as more commonly called today "above premiums". Michelob, Coors' Herman Joseph (and, for a short-time, Coors Extra Gold, before it went down-market) and lots of defunct brands -Pabst's Andeker & Henry Weinhard, Stroh's Signature and Augsburger, Schlitz' Erlanger - were the classic US superpremiums, along with Miller's licensed Lowenbrau, of which Killian's is an obvious successor.

    Import drinkers, and others who wish to "move up" (and the brewers hope to not lose those drinkers to wines and spirits in their move up) have always been the market for superpremiums. Imports are still have more than twice the market share that craft has, and Killians (a MillerCoors product in the US, but still owned by the original Irish owners and licensed to MC and other brewers) is the perfect example. First introduced to the US market back around 1980, before there was much of a "craft" market.

    So, those beers seem to be aimed more at the import drinkers who venture into beer only slightly different than US adjunct lagers as far as color and taste goes - the Mexican "ambers" (like Dos Equis), Newcastle Brown Ale, Bass, etc., as well as the US brands I previously mentioned like Yuengling Trad. Lager and Shiner Bock.
  8. I have posted several times in past threads my guess on what the BMC breweries are shooting for wrt Black Crown, Third Shift & Batch 19: they want their fair share of the American Amber Adjunct Lager market. In other words, they want beer drinkers to purchase these beers vs. Yuengling Lager and Shiner Bock (as points of examples).

    I don’t have specific values but Yuengling Lager and Shiner Bock sell well; maybe in the neighborhood of 2 million barrels per year between the two beers?

    Cheers!
    russpowell and Roguer like this.
  9. Roguer

    Roguer Champion (890) Connecticut Mar 25, 2013

    Mich also doesn't hide its allegiance, and Mich Ultra is hardly a premium these days. I think the days of associating Michelob with "quality" are gone. Re: imports, doesn't that kind of fall into the craft category? Didn't a lot of us cut our teeth on German and Belgian imports, or Yuengling and Shiner Bock? Heineken and Becks aside, imports often fall into that "Drink a better quality product," niche. Sometimes they're just as mass-produced, obviously.

    Microbrews may be a relatively recent trend, but it has the same aim of import beers: drink something that tastes better than a BMC AAL. And that gets back to my original point: if they keep aiming at "moving up" drinkers (as you put it) - or at least are trying not to lose them - then why aren't they brewing more of the beers we actually drink? Killian's is a great example of cashing in on the import concept, but their forays into craft - other than just buying up or buying into craft brewers like CBA and GI - seems to be mostly limited to brewing craftier lagers.

    That's the bedeviling point: when was the last time ABInbev or SABCoorsMiller (SCM?) brewed up an ale that a craft beer drinker would enjoy? Blue Moon or Shock Top? Maybe Black Crown will convince a BMC drinker that Bud has everything the beer world has to offer (or convince him to stick to a light American lager instead, because flavor is scary!), but those kinds of brews aren't enticing any of us (BAs) to return any of that lost market share, because it's just not what we drink.
  10. Is it really shitty beer? Or beer without a lot of complexity.

    I think the same can be said about food. You'll gladly take an IPA that'll erode your teeth enamel..but would you eat horse?

    I don't think it's far to call macro beer 'shit'. There are a lot of people who don't want a lot of complexity in flavors. But they might've built their own house out of virgin timber dreged out of a lake, with their bare hands...while we wallow away in a generic looking house in a suburb straight out of Edward Scissorhands. And he's calling us morons for owning some prefab designed house.

    :/
  11. Also, if BMC bought up these craft breweries..the people making the beer would ride it out for awhile, split off and start a new brewery, which is how a lot of these places came to be..nearly every time I've read or listened to an interview from a master brewer, or head brewer they talked about working for AB..

  12. “ …then why aren't they brewing more of the beers we actually drink?” This was somewhat addressed in a past thread. BA Peter_Wolfe, who is a scientist who works for AB, mentioned that AB is only interested in brewing a beer brand that will sell more than 1 million barrels per year (Ziegenbock appears to be an exception to that ‘rule’). So, of the beer brands that “we actually drink”, which do you think represents an opportunity of 1 million barrels per year for AB or MillerCoors?

    Cheers!
    Crusader likes this.
  13. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (345) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    As a company they might adapt and consider the 1 million barrels per year criteria to be obsolete, given the new market conditions (which they may describe as fragmented or more individualistic) and give the go-ahead to new brands which might not sell 1 million barrels, but which may sell say half a million barrels with better margins. Instead of 6 dollar 6packs they might sell as 9dollar sixpacks, and the entire market equation is altered to the benefit of the company. The million barrel cut off point I'm guessing is a left over from the last couple of decades where Anheuser-Busch expected to be the leader in the brewing business and the top seller in all segments. Once AB-INBEV senses an opportunity in higher-margin segments, with lower volumes, the equation will shift and new brands will emerge. That is my prediction.
  14. Patrik, the vision that you articulate makes a lot of sense to me. Given that, I will cynically state that I doubt that the marketing folks at AB and MillerCoors will likely not adopt that vision. Every decision they have made in the past 2-3 years to expand their product line has made little sense to me.

    Maybe at some point the BMC marketing folks will make decisions that make sense, and will genuinely help their companies grow for the long term, but I remain unconvinced based upon recent actions.

    Cheers!

    Jack
    Crusader likes this.
  15. I'm a soda vendor. So I see lots of beer deliveries in grocery store back rooms. And generally the Bud/Miller stuff goes on the bottom of pallets, then all the specialty stuff goes on top, as well as the 6 packs, and odd packages.

    Let's just say I've noticed over the years the bottom layers of these pallets have been getting smaller. Still lots of 18 packs..But, now i'm seeing pallets of nothing but craft-ish stuff come in. As opposed to a thin layer on top of a pallet of suitcases.
    drtth likes this.
  16. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (345) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    I do think though that the beer industry is about to adapt, and it will do so in a number of ways. It used to be about a set number of brands, few of them, in large volumes, nowadays it de facto is about a larger number of brands (if one looks at the beer business as a global rather than national business, which is where Miller, i.e SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch, i.e AB-INBEV, and Heineken International and Carlsberg Group belongs). ABINBEV likes to position itself as the global beer company with global brands, rather than national brands, yet it follows MillerCoors USA in putting out a Shock Top Belgian White to compete with Blue Moon. SABMiller likes to promote its local connections and local brands, yet it wants to make one of its more global brands, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, MGD a staple. These companies will adapt to the market at hand, and they wont be overly sentimental about it, unless sentimentality fits into the marketing program of a certain brand. Nor will they remember what used to constitute a good quarter or a good full year in the past, if they can somehow tweak the criterias in their favor by using some other measuring device. Organic growth, velocity, brand health, brand awareness etc. (just look at how they've spun Budweiser's fate over the last few years).

    If they can present to their stockholders a brand of beer which sells 300 000 barrels of beer, yet grows at a rate of 72% per year (off a low base), rather than declines 2% annualy (and has done so for 20 years straight), they will push this fact and make a point of mentioning it. Growth and percentage increases holds the promise of greater future wins, especially when coming from AB-INBEV or SABMILLER.

    I can't say whether such a brand will be a credible Münchener style lager, or pilsner, rather than a lemonade flavored wheat beer, but I do think that the American beer business is about to change, and that it will be more favorable towards the former, perhaps as much or even more so as to the latter (if the revised equations make them profitable).

    This is purely my opinion, and I do respect yours Jack to a great degree also. But I do think that given the problems the American beer business faces, in wine, spirits and craft beer, it will find a winning concept, and it will do so at a compelling price (for the consumer), even if it takes a couple of years to get there.
  17. What was that Jerry Garcia quote though...?

    [paraphrased]

    "We've been trying to sell out for years, unfortunately no one was buying until quite recently."
  18. “But I do think that given the problems the American beer business faces, in wine, spirits and craft beer, it will find a winning concept..”

    Please enlighten me Patrick, what “winning concept” have you seen from the BMC marketing folks in the past 2-3 years. It very well may be there but I personally do not see it?

    Cheers!
    Crusader likes this.
  19. Sierra Nevada is targeting 1million bbl in Chico this year, and that puts them at capacity. NC is doing test batches, and will be on line soon. No room for other breweries is my guess.
  20. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (490) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    That is fine on HousingAdvocate.com.
  21. Sokool

    Sokool Aficionado (210) Washington Jan 31, 2013

    This is getting a little off where the subject of this thread has gone. But I just want to say that I think it's hilarious that Coors' entire marketing campaign right now is geared towards convincing people that their beer is colder that other beers... COLDER! Kills me every time...
  22. russpowell

    russpowell Poobah (1,040) Oklahoma May 24, 2005

    True, most of these young'uns weren't around for Elk Mountain & others of that ilk. I liked most of them, it seems like the big boys lost their nerve & then suddenly were gone...
  23. russpowell

    russpowell Poobah (1,040) Oklahoma May 24, 2005

  24. russpowell

    russpowell Poobah (1,040) Oklahoma May 24, 2005

    I prefer this beer will get you hot chicks approach, but I am an old married guy:D
  25. Chris-MOC9

    Chris-MOC9 Aficionado (125) Oregon May 12, 2013

    chimneyjim and Zhiguli like this.
  26. artoolemomo

    artoolemomo Savant (460) Oregon Jun 16, 2009

    Some Portland/Oregon craft brew numbers:

    More than 17 percent of the 2.79 million barrels of all beer — both bottled and draft — consumed in the state were made in Oregon. For draft beer, that percentage is even higher, with Oregon breweries producing an estimated 47 percent of all draft beer consumed in the state. Oregonians consumed 12.8 percent more Oregon craft beer over last year, equaling 483,400 barrels. Craft beer production in the U.S. grew 15 percent in 2012 and now represents 6.5 percent of the total volume of beer brewed in the United States. (From oregoncraftbeer.org (June 26, 2013))

    In Portland, Ore., craft beer was a whopping 37 percent of all beer sold last year, up 8% from the previous year, according to Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer’s Insights. Steinman says craft beer there may outsell AB-InBev and MillerCoors in the next two years.
    At last check, there were 136 breweries in Oregon, up 50 percent over two years ago. More are coming. (From draftmag.com Published July/August 2013)

    I'm assuming the numbers for draft microbrews in Portland are over 50%. Even many dive bars offer just one tap of obligatory AAL- usually PBR, Hamm's, or maybe Rainier. BMC can be a little hard to find.
    chimneyjim likes this.
  27. Well, this just depends on one's definition of "light". Light could simply mean "less calories than other beers with similar alcohol contents". Given this definition, you could make a 20% ABV "light beer". And, pretty easily, I'm guessing!

    Though, it would likely taste like shit...
  28. There's not a lot of info out there yet about MillerCoors' new "Miller Fortune" beer besides the 6.9% ABV but there is no indication I've read that MC intends to market it as a "light beer" or link it to their flagship Miller Lite, the way AB used the "Bud Light" branding for Platinum.

    The regulations in the US for the term "light beer" are confused (mostly because "light" was a common label indicator of a beers' color and/or body because the creation of low calorie/low carbohydrate "light beer") but the TTB should not have allowed AB to call their 6% ABV beer "Bud Light Platinum" given normal consumer expectations after 40 years of "light beer" style - now the dominant beer type in the US.

    At this point, the rule merely is:
  29. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (490) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004


    Thats great. Someone should make a "barleywine light". Dont even try to make it less calories than a typical barleywine, just include the info.
  30. cavedave

    cavedave Champion (930) New York Mar 12, 2009

    Good gosh, articles like this and their reaction here are so funny. It's sorta like the class genius stressing because his average slipped from 95 to 93.

    Nine of every ten beer drinkers thinks craft beer sucks, and loves the taste of AAL. Really think about that for a minute before responding here, it will help your response to have meaning.
  31. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (490) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    50% of beer drinkers drink craft on occasion. So 40% of beer drinkers drink something that they think sucks?

    Im thinking about it. My math is accurate.
  32. cavedave

    cavedave Champion (930) New York Mar 12, 2009

    The point is that at least nine of ten containers of beer sold in this country is BMC/non craft, and that is a fact that doesn't change even if there is an occasional Saranac Pale Ale next to it in the fridge.
  33. Im not sure its that easy. If it were, they would be doing it (and they are to a certain extent). There are far too many craft breweries out there to simply buy them up. Even if they took the top 15% off the map by buying them (and Im just spit ballling here) it would cost them a fortune. Each brewer has his price and Im sure that the price is too steep for BMCs to make a dent. Risk would far outweigh reward in this scenario. Its truly a revolution in every sense of the word.
  34. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (370) North Carolina Apr 26, 2012

    Old Grandmas Barleywine Light: More fruitcake, less calories!
  35. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (490) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    Containers != drinkers.

    That is my point.

    Beer drinkers are what matters, and over half of all beer drinkers enjoy drinking craft. Even if they drink BMC more often, and just have craft on special occasions.
  36. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (490) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    Goose Island has already shown that they are willing to bend the 1 million bbl rule. But I still dont think they want to do a lot of that.

  37. (Well, this seems like a bit of deja vu, and I think we've discussed this before, but while Wolfe may have said it, and IIRC meant it in particular for new products...so forgive me if we've covered this ground;))

    AB sells about 100 million barrels of beer in the US, so a million bbl. beer for them would make up 1% of their sales. All these beers have well under a 1% share of their portfolio:

    BUD LIGHT LIME
    BUD LIGHT LIME A RITA
    BUD LIGHT CHELADA
    BUDWEISER SELECT
    ROLLING ROCK
    BUDWEISER BLACK CROWN
    KING COBRA
    HURRICANE HIGH GRAVITY
    BUSCH ICE
    NATTY DADDY LAGER
    BUDWEISER CHELADA
    MICHELOB LIGHT
    BUDWEISER SELECT 55
    HURRICANE MALT LIQUOR
    MICHELOB AMBER BOCK
    LANDSHARK LAGER
    MICH GOLDN DRFT LIGHT
    ODOULS NA
    ZIEGENBOCK AMBER
    BUSCH NA
    SHOCK TOP RSPBRY WHT
    MICHELOB
    WILD BLUE
    BASS ALE
    ODOULS AMBER NA

    (NOTE: I omitted a large number of FMB's under the Michelob, Shock Top, Margeritaville and Bacardi brands, as well as all their AB-InBev imports).
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  38. Zhiguli

    Zhiguli Aficionado (245) California Jul 12, 2012

    You must not live in NYC part of NY
  39. I don't know if it's true for everyone but I personally don't buy beers from breweries that are owned by SABmiller/AB-InBev. Goose Island, Kona, Batch 19, Third Shift, etc. So from one point of view, it could have negative effects to sell out to the man.
  40. Sounds good, more sofie, matilda, juliet and lolita for me. I don't buy into the Goose Island hate.
    Peter_Wolfe likes this.

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