Beer and Roses

Jan 23, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A new Beer Institute promotional program supported by major brewers plans to put beer in a whole new light for consumers.

According to a report, the “Here’s To Beer” campaign launching next month will “romance the product” and demonstrate its versatility in a number of social

Robert Lachky, Anheuser-Busch’s executive vice president of global industry development, said last week that the campaign will take a page from the wine industry and work on
educating retailers and consumers about what foods go best with different types of beer and ale.

The beer industry, however, doesn’t plan to follow the lead of wine when it comes to discussing the role of beer in promoting better health.

“I don’t think wine has anything over beer in terms of health benefits,” said Mr. Lachky. “But we won’t say that. It’s better that others study it and then we have an open dialogue
about it.”

Patricia Williams, an associate professor of marketing at Penn’s Wharton School of Business, said reshaping a product’s image takes time, so trying to accomplish that with an
entire category will take even longer.

Moderator’s Comment: Is the beer industry on track with the focus of its “Here’s to Beer” campaign? Will it add new consumers to the category and/or
increase consumption of those who already drink beer and ale?

George Anderson – Moderator

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7 Comments on "Beer and Roses"

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Dan Raftery
15 years 1 month ago

Certainly the proliferation of micro-brew brands and the extended distribution of local favorites supports the idea that maybe the big brewers can adopt some version of the wine industry’s marketing cachet. Several interesting parallels exist between the two beverages. However, one big difference is the “class” distinction, whether real or perceived. Wine at a sporting event? Not so much. Even wine aficionados drink beer in stadiums. Beer at an art show? Also not so much. Doesn’t seem right.

So, maybe it’s easier to slide consumers down the beverage social scale than it is to bubble them up. If so, that means the beer marketing folks will need to be selective about their transformation targets. But who better to do this than the folks responsible for some of the most consistently creative ad campaigns?

Bernice Hurst
15 years 1 month ago

There must be something in the air as a similar campaign is about to start in the UK next month. I, for one, will need to be converted as there are only certain foods and occasions on which I prefer beer to any other beverage. But the range and variety need to be explained better, I think, and more time given to microbreweries’ products. How successful it is pretty much depends, like food promotions, on taste and who is directing the spend.

Ben Ball
15 years 1 month ago

Hard core beer drinkers won’t care one way or the other. The “swing swillers” who choose their drinks based more on fashion and trend may well be influenced by a “beer as fashion statement” approach. After you’ve done Pinot Noir and Shiraz, what else is there in the wine rack to differentiate yourself with?

Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter
15 years 1 month ago

It’s hard to say if “Here’s to Beer” is the right campaign but clearly the beer industry understands the problem. Consumer tastes have shifted back to mixed drinks and more “life-style” oriented drinks than beer. Ironically the beer industry has been beat by better marketing and equity building from the spirits industry. What makes it ironic is in the 70’s this is exactly what the beer industry did to the spirits industry. In the 70’s the beer industry focused on building brand equity which led to significant gains in consumption which continued for a number of years right through the 90’s. With the beer industry consolidated around a few key global players it will be interesting to watch how they respond. There’s far too much at stake for the major players in the industry to watch their share slide. The winners in all this will be the food / hospitality industry as there will be some very aggressive promotional events in the years to come.

Bob Houk
Bob Houk
15 years 1 month ago

How much will the industry association spend on this campaign compared to the hundreds of millions (billions?) spent by the breweries independently… much of which will presumably continue to be babes-in-bikinis-on-the-beach-playing-volleyball ads, which will undercut (I would think) the industry message?

Kai Clarke
15 years 1 month ago

Although the beer industry is trying to reposition their product’s image, it will have a long, uphill battle to wage against the preconceived notions of the beer public. Beer has been positioned as the everyman’s drink for so long, that the beer industry might be better off considering how they can elevate their product for everyone, rather than making it appear to be a romanticized product. The industry has done an excellent job of differentiating their product through target market segmentation using different brands, types and prices. Why risk risk all of this, and hundreds of years of marketing, at an immense cost, instead of reinforcing their current product position? It is clear that the costs of this campaign will extend beyond its’ benefits for many years to come.

Mark Lilien
15 years 1 month ago

Guaranteed failure: any ad campaign with 3
simultaneous unrelated messages. And it seems that
the budget isn’t being disclosed because it’s an
embarrassment. It’s like the joke about the food at
the hotel: it tastes terrible and the portions are too
small. The excuse to avoid the health message fits
the guaranteed failure theme. Red wine sales took off
because of the health benefit. Red wine is regulated
by the same folks who regulate beer marketing. If the
winos could do it, why can’t the brewers? Clue to the
clueless: long life trumps brewing appreciation every


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