The “Brew” Blog, which is sponsored by Miller and reads like it, this week has a series about how the rules of the beer business are changing.
It features old rules and the rules that replaced them. No. 2:
Old Rule: Imports and crafts are exotic
New Rule: Imports and crafts are mainstream
Most of the attention still goes to imports, which had 6% of the market in 1995 and now command 12%, which are much like mainstream beers in taste and marketing.
Indeed, top imports Corona Extra and Heineken are taking on the characteristics of mainstream domestic brews. They spend millions on television. They’re sold in convenience stores. They’re available in large package sizes. And, bowing to U.S. consumer tastes, they’re available in light versions.
“Brew” has made all the rules available, so we don’t have to wait to read No. 4, for which the new rule is “No product, no image.” The idea is that there has to be substance behind advertising.
There’s no one path to differentiation. It can focus on the intrinsic qualities of the beer – its taste or other physical characteristics. Or it can focus on the extrinsic characteristics, such as its place of origin or the package. And of course, differentiation can be based on both.
Like, “We’re your neighborhood brewery and we make beer with more flavor.”