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Learning To Market To Millennials By Analyzing Their Beer Tastes

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Beer, one of our great pastimes, goes hand-in-hand with football and about as American as apple pie and Chevrolet. But that was then, the past and this is now. Budweiser, the King of Beers, was once the best selling beer in all of the United States and thought to be one of the great American brand names.

However, back in 2008, InBev, a global beverage conglomerate based in Belgium, bought the family run beer empire and sales have been on the decline. Once number one, “This Bud’s for You” dropped to number two and has been replaced by the Silver Bullet, Coors Light in sales, although Bud Lite still remains in the number one slot.

What does this mean for marketing, especially for the all-important twenty-somethings that fall into the Millennial category, those coming of age during the turn of the century. Does their taste in beer shed any light on marketing to this challenging age group?Beer 1

Healthy or Crafty?

So why the switch? Are younger Americans becoming more weight conscious? Maybe, maybe not. While many are drinking more wine and replacing beer with spirits and mixed drinks, another trend is changing the malt in our beer, literally. The rise of craft beers and microbreweries (those that produce 6 million barrels or less per year) are giving Budweiser and other big name beer brands a real run for their money.

Collectively, these mini-brewers have outsold Budweiser for the first time in 2014 and that trend is continuing to rise. What may be even more surprising, almost half (44%) of people between the ages of 21 and 27 have never even tasted a regular Bud. A little over a decade ago, walking into a local bar or pub, Budweiser was the number one choice available on just a few beer taps, but today, there are dozens of options that are less expensive, tastier and lighter, calorically.

Retiring the Clydesdales

I can’t say that I am a Bud drinker myself and while I’m a little too old to fit into the Millennial category, I did enjoy the grand Clydesdales that came to symbolize the Budweiser brand, but these gentle giants aren’t cutting it with the younger crowd.

In an ironic twist, although the bland taste of Budweiser is on a sharp decline with today’s younger generation, similar in taste, Pabst Blue Ribbon is gaining steam with hipsters. While sales dropped during the first part of the century, fast forward a decade and the consumption of their lager has risen by 200% since 2003. Many marketing experts cite PBR’s advertising campaigns that showcase, a young, hip crowd downing their beverage while playing pool and hanging out, as a primary reason for this recent success.

Millennial Marketing, Where and How

Any marketing professional in this day and age would not be worth their weight in barley if they did not recognize the importance of reaching today’s mobile audience, despite their age, on their ubiquitous handheld devices. Social media also plays an important role in reaching out to these twenty-somethings, but now it isn’t just where to seek them out, but more importantly how to market to them more effectively.

Obviously, a horse-drawn carriage, no matter how synonymous it is with the Budweiser brand, is just too outdated for Millennials to grasp. Another brand name taking a beating with its dated approach is KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) whose old man Colonel Sanders is not connecting with youngsters. They are losing ground to other, hipper fast-food chains like Chick-Fil-A and Popeye’s. Yet another example of a brand in serious need of revamping is Buick, which has long carried the connotation of being “your old man’s ride.”Car

Although Budweiser won’t be disappearing off grocery store shelves anytime soon, if they want to remain on tap for the Millennials and generations that will follow, you will be seeing a younger, fresher marketing approach from them in the future. KFC and Buick will likely follow in these much hipper footsteps

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