Came across an interesting press release this weekend on Beer Pulse about the conversion rates in the craft beer industry between those who try a brand and those who are likely to become a regular customer of that brand. When it comes down to the economics, this could be viewed as bad news for the craft beer industry.
“Converting triers into regular usage is among the most critical factors for long-term success of beverage brands,” said David Decker, President, Consumer Edge Insight. “This is particularly important in the craft beer segment due to the proliferation of brands and varieties that consumers have to choose from.”
Coors will never have this problem because they know that all of the Uncle Joe’s of the world will buy a case of their beer every Friday night like clockwork. Budweiser knows every sporting event will result in X number of kegs sold. Craft beer consumers, however, are always after something different. While it may not be awesome for the economics of the brewery, the culture surrounding the beers is set up to try as many different flavors from as many different breweries as possible. From festivals to collaboration brews to variety packs, there is probably always another beer to try. With apps like Untappd and RateBeer at our disposal – the quest for another beer I might like is eternally ongoing.
The brewmasters at craft breweries are sensitive to the desires of their consumers, as well. Just about every craft brewer has a selection of styles available, and these styles are fairly consistent across the brands. You may not like everything that Breckenridge Brewery produces, but you might like all of the IPAs or Porters that several local breweries put out. Add in the seasonal beers and the special edition bombers and anything brewed on a small-scale and hyped up, craft brewers might not have to count on brand loyalty to get what they need.
Admittedly, I have tried dozens of beers only once. There is the anxiety that maybe I haven’t tried the best beer yet and I should keep trying until I reach that mecca. If the collection of stickers plastered on my laptop is any indicator, then I don’t like a particular craft brewery, I just like craft beer. At the same time, I have a few fall-back varieties that I’m going to pick up if there isn’t much else available.
Is there anything you consider yourself “loyal” to? Is there a craft brewer out there that could count on you to keep them in business?