As I never miss a chance to take a cheap shot at corporate companies who deliver mediocre to poor products, let me give a hearty, yet sarcastic, salute to the folks at Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing Company.
It seems as if these companies are in a bit of a rut of late. There are several reasons for their decline, including a marketplace continually shifting to wine and spirits as well as losing ground to higher-end imports and artisinal brewers.
But this market share loss is simply the result of a much larger issue. As Tom Long, Miller’s chief marketing officer, mentioned in this article, “the beer industry itself is to blame for its recent troubles. The recent trend to more lowbrow humor has brought down the industry’s image in the eyes of the public, and that a lack of brand differentiation constitutes an “ocean of sameness” in consumers’ minds”.
Or to put it another way, Budweiser = Miller = Coors. All of which taste like watered down barley water with a bit of an alcoholic kick. As the Canadian joke goes (if you’ll pardon the vulgarity) — “How is American Beer like making love in a canoe? It’s fucking close to water.”
The other issue is that these beers are marketed primarily to the “Drunk Sports Fan” crowd, a crowd that a growing number of consumers don’t wish to be associated.
So if you’re having a tall cool one with dinner tonight, tip your glass to these beer dinosaurs. They’re losing sales to local micro-brewers, and I for one, couldn’t be happier.