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Beer Insights

Beer Insights

Insight | Moderation

Moderation in drinking is a global trend

The moderation in drinking trend is present in most parts of the world. In South Africa, brewers have promoted moderation with advertising about not drinking and driving. Castle, a popular lager, has introduced Castle Free, a no-alcohol beer. Castle became an AB InBev beer after the merger with SAB. The lowest calorie beer in South Africa is a brand called Castle Lite. But rather than communicating about fitness or health the brand is going to market as the beer to drink when you’re out. In South Africa, AB InBev also markets a beer called Flying Fish, which has additional flavorings, including lemon and other fruits.

Adhil Patel

Global Director, Brand



Insight | Global 

Insight | Innovation

Choice, quality, occasions will decide winners

Impacted by changing consumer attitudes, tastes, options and flattening consumption, the beer brands are stimulating growth through innovations, products, social responsibility, and distribution. Within “beer,” consumers have more options including alcohol percentage, flavors, colors, and even region of origin. The options are endless as new brewers enter the market. However, the number of options is increasing as the beer slice of the alcohol pie is decreasing. Therefore, beer brands are expanding beyond traditional beer to cater to evolving needs with options such as hard seltzers and even mixed-drink K-cups. The winner in the beer wars will be the company that offers choices, variety, quality, and appeal for various occasions. It is not just about beer, but also about social responsibility. Beer brands are acknowledging and actioning on their responsibly to protect the world through increases sustainability. Examples include wind and solar powered breweries, beer made from surplus bread, and improved water availability and quality. The brands are also expanding distribution possibilities with e-commerce and subscription-based ordering. “Uber Drinks” could be a purchase option. Subscription-based online purchasing opens the international world of beer to each market. Beer has and will continue to enter the online shopping arena—further opening the world of beer to more consumers.

Cindy Hoffmann

Global Account Director, Client Services



Insight | Competition

Spirits giant sharpens focus on beer market

Diageo until recently has focused on its Spirits business. Now, it’s moving its beer strategy front and center. It has realized how much potential there is in the beer market, especially with the craft and taste movements that speak to broader shifts within consumer behavior and culture. Diageo is looking to build a broader category portfolio, which has been focused in a squeezed mainstream segment. The business has introduced Hop House 13 from Guinness and a light lager called Rockshore. It has also been looking for ways to create more occasions for beer; for example, by reinterpreting sociability and moments of meaningful connection to democratize Guinness. Many of those moments have historically been around rugby and are focused on men, but Guinness is associating the brand with more modern male sensibilities.

Jade McMillan-Hainey

Associate Director, Strategy

Kantar, Consulting Division


Insight | Centennials

Centennials drink less and desire health benefits

Older Centennials, people born around the turn of the century, are just coming into the category. But compared with earlier generations, Centennials are not as interested in drinking or drinking as much. Millennials were all about having fun. Centennials are pragmatic. They are a future-focused generation that knows it takes a lot to get ahead and they don’t want a lot of stuff holding them back. They sometimes choose marijuana over alcohol, thinking they can control it more. They might use marijuana during an evening believing that it won’t affect them the next morning as much as alcohol might. Centennials usually look for additional benefits, so they may prefer a beer to be low-calorie, if not alcohol-free. Besides alcohol, Centennials gravitate to health beverages with mood enhancers. Centennials are more likely to look at ingredients and ask, what do they do for me?

Lindsay Kunkle

Vice President, Futures Practice

Kantar, Consulting Division


Insight | Sustainability

Brewers reduce impact production has on the planet

The major brands have introduced innovations to improve sustainability. Carlsberg has come up with a game-changer way of attaching together cans in a six-pack. It is getting rid of the plastic yokes and instead sticking the cans together with glue, a feat that many of the beer and soft drink brands are trying to accomplish. Corona is trialing plastic-free, biodegradable packaging rings and Guinness cans will soon come packaged in a cardboard sleeve. Both Molson and Corona are investing heavily in cleaning up beaches and oceans. Stella Artois partners with a non-profit to provide clean water to people in developing countries. Budweiser has pledged to brew using 100 percent renewable energy, as advertised in its Super Bowl ad showing the Clydesdales hauling a load of beer through a windfarm, to the soundtrack of Bob Dylan singing “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Simon Horner

Strategic Insight Director, Worldpanel Division



Insight | Identity

Finding deeper identity will enliven brands

Now more than ever, the larger mainstream beer brands need to re-evaluate what make consumers tick by taking a lesson from emerging sub-categories such as craft, or low/no-alcohol beers. Potentially the easiest and most important way to do this is by going back to basics and understand what makes these brands special with some fundamental tangible information about the product and then communicate this effectively. Simple snippets about the product such as what (specific) type of beer it is, what ingredients go into it, and how it should taste are second nature to marketing and brand teams. However, the reality faced by consumers is an undifferentiated and over-crowded category where it becomes very easy to default to what they know best or jump ship and try something completely new where more often than not they are delighted. Alongside building those more tangible functional brand associations, it’s important to give these brands a deeper identity through developing their personality in a relevant way, authentic to the brand’s core. This will help them to bring them to life and help them further differentiate from each other, ultimately securing longer-term success.

Stephen Dell

Client Director – Brand