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Beer Sales Down the Drain


23377-campaign-spotlight-grab-some-buds-call-to-action-225x300Budweiser, the self-proclaimed, king of beers just launched a digital campaign known as “Track Your Bud” which  allows consumers to trace the origins of the beer they hold in their hands to one of Budweiser’s 12 U.S. breweries.

The Track Your Bud site is visually interesting. Using large-scale graphics the “tracking of your Bud’s origins becomes a platform to promote the brand’s quality steps, ingredients and brewmasters.

So what?

Does anyone at Anheuser-Busch InBev really believe that Bud swilling consumers really want to get to know the brewmaster of their beer? C’mon man! If your drinking Bud you want a cheap buzz – pure and simple.

As is often the case – when sales are down it’s easy to blame the weather. A rainy spring has left big beer sales flat. Wait! What? Whatever the cause, it has been a spring to forget for big beer brands, which after showing signs of life last year are slumping through a brutal 2013 so far.

According to an article in AdAge, the latest bad news came from Anheuser-Busch InBev, the guys who brew Budweiser, which yesterday reported a 4.1% drop in sales to U.S. retailers for the first quarter ending in March. Sales for MillerCoors brands, meanwhile, dropped 3.3% in the quarter, parent company SABMiller recently reported, while Heineken USA sales were down by low-single digits. The only big beer marketer reporting gains was Corona-seller Crown Imports, but the importer’s sales were only up slightly, (stats from Beer Marketer’s Insights).

Overall, beer sales by volume increased just 1% in 2012. Sales of traditional mass-produced beer in the U.S. have basically remained flat for several years, giving the impression that if consumers are drinking more beer, they’re probably turning to craft beverages. Drinkers even seem to be shying away from the usual beer options on chug-happy holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, when beer sales declined by 4% over the weekend at bars, compared to last year.

It’s unlikely American’s a drinking less. There’s a greater chance they’re drinking differently.

Craft brewers are growing. Craft brewer retail dollar value in 2012 was an estimated $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011.

Superior taste, more interesting packaging and intriguing names like Moose Drool, Prescription Pils and Pandora’s Bock make for engaged consumers. Even at a premium price.

Track Your Bud will not increase sales and is certainly no replacement for the 2006 Budweiser “Whassup?” campaign.

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