Top 5 Beer Trends to Watch for in 2012

By Jim Cohen | January 3, 2012 | 0 Comments |
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When we wrote the top beer new articles for 2011 last week, we realized there were certain trends within the industry. While we hadn’t clearly stated them in any of our stories as a main trend, it was pretty obvious that the stories we covered had certain themes that ran through them. We’ve put together our top five list of trends to watch for in 2012:

1.)  Fast food restaurants and stores will serve beer & wine
This may either seem like a far out concept to you or extremely intuitive. The reason that these retail stores want to serve beer and wine is twofold: (a) increase growth and (b) increase profits. Beer does both of these things for stores. Beer generally is a high margin product, meaning that stores can purchase beer for a relatively low price and resell it at a higher price. Additionally, if someone is ordering a $5.00 burger and $1.00 soda, if you replace that with a $4.00 beer, you automatically see a 50% growth in sales! When vendors like Starbucks, Burger King, White Castle, Whole Foods, etc. have already started the trend it’s hard to argue that it’ll go away any time soon.

2.) Big breweries will continue to invest in craft beer brands
Mega breweries are struggling. Light beer brands have been losing ground in total volume for years now. At the same time, these large breweries are more profitable than ever. How? Over the past several years, you may have noticed that the price of Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite were all going up. This is how the large breweries combatted their reduced volumes. Recognizing that they need to buck the trend, larger breweries will continue to acquire smaller high growth craft brands or purchase minority stakes in them. Some notable ones from last year include Anheuser-Busch’s acquisition of Goose Island and MillerCoors minority interest in Terrapin Brewery.

3.) Craft beer is destined to expand
Well from #2 above, this may be redundant; however, we see a trend here. Larger craft beer brands like: Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Yuengling are surging. All three have decided to expand to other states within the last twelve month opening up large brewing facilities and increasing their distribution strategy. With a healthy craft beer industry growth rate of 10%, it’s not hard to believe that others will soon follow and expand their brands to encroach on the mega breweries turf.

4.) You will see ridiculous beer marketing schemes
In 2010, we wrote about the four worst beer marketing gimmicks, and we think 2012 will not disappoint either. MillerCoors discussed it a few weeks back and mentioned their plans for a brand new marketing campaign for the struggling Miller Lite. Similarly, in 2011, they launched a $150 million marketing plan for Coors Light, which has shown signs of success. You won’t see it from just the big guys though. Craft breweries will start to get into the mix – we saw it with Will Ferrell and Breckenridge Brewery.

5.) Women will be targeted
Women are only 25% of the beer consuming population. However, think about it – that’s actually a decent percentage of an extremely large industry. Now, if you think about all the ads out there, they are generally aimed at the majority population: men. In 2011, we saw Chick Beer and a new pink beer aimed specifically at women. Does that mean we’ll see gender segregation in beer moving forward? No. However, more and more brands will either make their marketing gender neutral or come up with ad campaigns targeted at the female demographic. Whoever can win the 25% will certainly have a large share of the market.

We’ll see if we’re right. Beer Universe will keep tracking the stories for you – we hope you enjoy reading them.

Your Choice. Your Beer. Drink Up.
- Beer Universe

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