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Beer Insights

Majors respond as craft disrupts premium sector


A few years ago, the big breweries weren’t paying very much attention to craft beer. Now they understand both the threat and potential Craft plays, so giving the sector a lot of attention. Craft has disrupted premium around taste, and it’s quite dangerous from that point of view. The big brewers are looking at how craft fits into their portfolios and asking, what is the role of craft? How do we make the most of the craft opportunity? We’ll see more companies acquiring craft brands rather than just innovating themselves.


Nigel Birch

Senior Client Director

Kantar Millward Brown







Consumers build brand repertoires to match occasions


We’ve been looking at the growth of brand repertoires. Within a repertoire, you might have 10 or 12 brands. And the repertoire will be divided into sub-repertoires for various occasions. A person might have two or three beer brands for drinking every day, several beers when premium is desired, and a few brands for drinking with mates. The challenge for brands is lack of distinctiveness, which is needed to get into the repertoire. We may see more media investment going from above the line to the point-of-sale because, without a strong preference, the purchasing decision is made at the moment-of-truth.


Chris Knibbs

Director, FMCG and Retail

Kantar TNS





Amplifying a clear and distinctive brand positioning more important than ever


The craft movement, accelerating product innovation and a trend towards premiumization means it is harder than ever for brands to stand out and get consistently chosen over others. As a result, it is more important than ever for brands to differentiate via a distinctive brand essence – amplifying a clear positioning that is unique and relevant to consumers to get noticed and win.


Chris Pick

Client Director

Kantar Millward Brown






Packaging changes will signal brand moves to premium


Large brewers have focused on delivering a great brand experience in the on-trade, with impactful, premium glasses as just one example. We will start to see more and more brands putting greater focus on their packaging to improve brand experience off-trade, which represents a major source of growth. These are among the initiatives brands need to take on the journey to becoming more premium in the eyes of consumers.


David Graham

Kantar Millward Brown

Senior Client Director






As craft matures, majors will drive its consolidation


The major brewers have been quite smart about how they’ve entered the craft business. They’ve acquired craft brands, but they’ve left them to do what they do. In the US, where craft is maturing, we’re getting to the point where we may see some consolidation. In five years, perhaps, the craft sector will still be sizable, but it could be largely controlled by the majors.


Ian Elmer

Global Account Director





Extensive choice makes Salience critical for brands


Go into a bar or bodega in most mature beer markets now & you’ll be confronted with an ever-expanding choice of beers. Choice can be good for us, but it does pose some challenges. More choice demands additional time & effort from the human decision-making process, with many beer drinkers likely finding themselves in a state of ‘choice paralysis’. In this context, Salience—being top of mind at the moment of purchase – could become even more critical for brands.


Daniel Brown

Partner, Global Strategy Director






Winezation of beer presents challenges for major brands

We have heard a lot about the “vodkaization” and the “wineization” of beer. With “vodkaization” we see all the different flavor trends, which can cycle in and out quickly. The flavor inspiration comes from many sources. Particularly in the US, it reflects the increasingly multicultural and polycultural nature of the society, which is changing the American palate and shifting preference for beer to something with a bit more spice and dimension. “Winezation” suggests that consumers look for a type of beer, not a brand. Both these phenomena challenge brands.


Lindsay Kunkle

Senior Consultant

Kantar Futures