Really Not Getting It 101

Thanks to Alan for pointing me towards this remarkable example of the incredible degree to which the big breweries are just not getting it:

Joel Levesque, Moosehead’s vice-president, said the demographic that drinks the most beer, New Brunswickers aged 19 to 25, is shrinking and despite sunny weather, summer sales are down. He said that had sparked a fierce competition among the big brewers. “You entice people to take your brand by offering something that they can’t get from their brand regularly, for example a T-shirt in the box or in this case, it’s $5 coupons,” he said. Levesque said there would be more discounts as major labels try to clear shelves by Labour Day.

T-shirt? Check. Coupon? Check. Flavour? Oh, I must have missed that memo…

(Interesting to note the pull quote from this story, which has Sean Dunbar from Picaroons Brewing talking about how the brewery hasn’t been able to keep up with demand. Guess he got the memo!)

4 Replies to “Really Not Getting It 101”

  1. Having drifted around New England for the week, you can almost build up an immunity to the idiocy of the big brewers. So much good beer. Such good prices. Such family friendly brew pubs.

    A discount coupon? That;s all you got for me, Moosehead? A discount coupon???

  2. I’d like to comment on your post if I may. The CBC clip you posted was only a small portion of a much longer discussion with the reporter. When I was referring to the practice of enticing consumers with freebies, I was talking about the practices of the large, multi-national brewers who control over 80% of beer sales in Canada. What I told the reporter was that when the big two start giving away $5 coupons,(or hats or shirts) small main-stream brewers like Moosehead are forced to respond in some way to maintain sales. Moosehead is still a private, family-owned business with less than 4% of the Canadian beer market. We will never be a giant brewer with the deep pockets of the big guys. We employ about 300 people at our brewery in New Brunswick and try very hard to be innovative and give our consumers both quality and value. We recognize that the Craft beer industry is very important to beer lovers and is producing some superb product. We admire greatly what the craft brewers are doing. In fact we invested in a craft brewer in Ontario a number of years ago (long before the big guys started buying up the craft brewers). We have a hands-off approach with that brewer which morphed into Hop City a couple of years ago. Hop City has created two of the hottest craft brews in Ontario — Lawn Chair and Barking Squirrel — both of which have won major awards against some of the acknowledged craft leaders in Canada. In summary, our owners love great beer and are trying hard to do two things well: keep a 143-year old company viable against intense competition from the mass producers AND give the beer-loving public something to celebrate and enjoy. Thanks for your help in keeping beer issues front and centre. Cheers.
    Joel Levesque, Moosehead Breweries

    1. Thank you for clarifying your statement, Joel. Based on your comment, I suspect the reporter could have done more to frame your original words in context, but I also understand well the demands of word counts, deadlines, etc. (We writers stick together, we do.)

      As you imply, I feel that the beer market in Canada is splitting into two markets, mainstream and craft, with the former shrinking while the latter expands. I also recognize that while it is contracting, the mainstream market is by far the majority stakeholder in the overall scheme of things and thus hardly something a company like Moosehead can turn its back on.

      At the same time, however, I believe strongly that there is room for more substantial offerings from all of the larger brewers, such as your own Hop City fare, MolsonCoors’ Blue Moon line and what Labatt is attempting to do (I think with less than overwhelming success) with its Keith’s line. I think brands such as these might very well be the vanguard of a changing overall beer market.

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