Large and small alcohol brands are pursuing a similar marketing
strategy of emphasizing brand history or craftsmanship in an
attempt to appeal to consumers' increasing desire for
authenticity, and are taking steps to "modernize" this
highly regulated industry through new products and innovations.
As the "craft" boom continues in the United States,
alcohol brands are looking to distinguish themselves by
increasingly focusing on their "story." The challenge
from a marketing perspective, is how to do this without violating
federal and state regulations that restrict a brand's ability
to message certain aspects of its origin or product qualities.
For large brands that may not currently have a craft product to
highlight, the recent trend has been for them to create a new
product more suitable for an "artisan" marketing
strategy. In recent years, suppliers have been tripping over
themselves to introduce new products and categories of adult
beverages, such as uniquely flavored spirits and ales, as well as
hard lemonades, ciders and sodas. These often are presented as
small-batch craft products, but the obligation under federal law
that the supplier or importer list its name on all advertising
means that there is a risk that the message will come across as
ingenuous. Marketers need to tread carefully when crafting the
The industry also has continued its push to test the limits of
many existing and accepted alcoholic beverage industry norms, which
have been accepted with varying degrees of success. There is a
continuing push for direct-to-home alcohol shipments, and even the
introduction of new and novel delivery vehicles, such as
Anheuser-Busch InBev's joint venture with Keurig Green Mountain
to develop an in-home alcohol drink system for beer and liquor.
These new offerings will only increase, along with the marketing
campaigns associated with them.
The continued push by suppliers to
bring new products and innovation to the U.S. marketplace presents
a great opportunity for marketers to advertise these new offerings
and to convince both the public and regulators of their
Innovation in the alcohol industry
faces strong resistance from many of the more entrenched interests,
as well as from the antiquated alcoholic beverage legal framework,
leading to interesting times within the industry.
A careful strategy is important for
advertisers and agencies trying to push the limits in this evolving
alcoholic beverage industry environment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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