Budweiser will NEVER relinquish its title as the ‘King of Beers’ no matter the state of the market. But a new report from the Wall Street Journal seems that while Budweiser may be down from their heyday, they have a strategy to turn it all around, and that strategy hinges are you, the millennials.
At one point Budweiser was absolutely dominating the market, but due to a variety of factors from the rise of craft beer to perception, their market share has shifted. That could all change though if you, the millennial, are willing to play ball.
The self-proclaimed King of Beers is more of an afterthought among young consumers at Jake’s and bars across the U.S.: Some 44% of 21- to 27-year-old drinkers today have never tried Budweiser, according to the brand’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV.
Young drinkers aren’t the reason Budweiser volumes have declined in the U.S. for 25 years, from its nearly 50-million-barrel peak in 1988 to 16 million barrels last year. Light beers like its sister, Bud Light, have chipped away at Bud’s share of the market for decades. Bud Light overtook it as the No. 1 selling beer in 2001, and Coors Light displaced it as No. 2 in 2011. Craft beers and flavored malts like AB InBev’s Lime-a-Rita have contributed to a 9% decline in shipments since then.
The company has decided that persuading 21- to 27-year-olds to grab a Bud is the best chance to stop the free-fall. After years of developing advertising and marketing that appeals to all ages, AB InBev plans to concentrate future Budweiser promotions exclusively on that age bracket. That means it will not trot out the traditional Budweiser Clydesdales for this year’s holiday advertising. It means February’s Super Bowl ads will feature something more current than last year’s Fleetwood Mac. It means less baseball and more raves with DJ group Cash Cash.
So what does this mean to you, the drinker? Well, more fun. If the WSJ’s report is to be believed it seems like Budweiser’s going ALL IN on courting the millennial, and that means everything from the world’s greatest DJ’s to underground events, to ditching the icons of yesteryear.
This excerpt from the WSJ’s article is EXTREMELY telling when it comes to what we should expect to see from Budweiser in the coming years:
“This is a very considered, long-term view of what will turn around the brand,” said Brian Perkins, AB InBev’s vice president of marketing, Budweiser.
Budweiser has a 7.6% share of the $100 billion U.S. beer market, down from 10% five years ago, and 14.4% a decade ago, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights. The biggest Budweiser drinkers are between the ages of 28 and 34 and consumption among that age group will decline as they settle down.
AB InBev looks at 20-somethings as a new market to tap. The number of people turning 21 peaked in 2013 at around 4.6 million. They represent the largest number of new drinkers since the Baby Boom, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
Millennials: you have the power. You’re now dictating the market (even if you’re not even scratching the surface of the highest spending bracket yet). What will you do with this power? All I ask is that for the love of everything beer, let’s not force them into making more margarita-infused beers….pretty please?