What competition will look like – is what competition has always looked like in the beer business. Doing whatever it takes to get your draught beer sold at the bar and keep it there. Stretching the rules to get some business. Discounting to fill capacity or move aging product. Here only the strong survive. It is our way of life and the natural order of things.
As a craft brewer, when sales are good, you are a genius. You feel good and everybody loves you. If you are in rhythm with the consumer and are ahead of the other breweries, your success will continue. But it can happen that sales slow down. You won’t know why at first but it begins in your best accounts; the ones you take for granted because they are loyal to your brand. You get more active but your consumers are onto something new. You adjust, but someone else is now the pretty girl at the dance. Then one day you show up at your favorite account to find your brand is gone.
Some more mature brands have undergone a facelift, or rebranding. Others continue to innovate — you may need to create the next watermelon seasonal sensation. Even a powerhouse like say, Oberon, has to be watchful of the warning signs of aging.
Innovating with interesting new beers, great packaging and then stepping up the intensity on the street, having the most committed sales people and earning the respect of your distributors compared to their other suppliers will all be necessary to stay in the game and prosper.
Brewers Advisory Group is a consulting group that specializes in helping craft brewers build value in their businesses. We have walked in your shoes and we’re here to help.
As seen in The Brewer Magazine, April 2015: http://thebrewermagazine.com/?p=1575