The Best Strategies to Grow Beer Sales

At NACS Show, A-B rep underscores importance of balance, pricing

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News


ATLANTA -- Top-quartile retailers sell nearly seven times as much beer as those in the fourth quartile, according to a new report by Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis. The difference, according to A-B's C.J. Watson, is a balanced approach and a consistent pricing strategy.

Watson, vice president of category management, reported the results of the A-B study during a NACS Show workshop titled Getting Crafty with Beer Sales. The study, which included 40,000 convenience stores across the United States, unveiled the following beer quartile sales figures:

  • Top-quartile retailers sold $315,272 in beer.
  • Second quartile: $193,739.
  • Third quartile: $130,913.
  • Fourth quartile: $46,045.

Part of the study took a closer look at more than 300 stores, which showed a balanced-beer strategy was most often successful.

According to the report:

  • Retailers who focused on craft beers at the expense of premium beers succeeded in outperforming the c-store industry average only 21% of the time.
  • Those that focused on premium beers and downplayed craft beers succeeded 70% of the time.
  • However, a beer strategy that highlighted both craft and premium beers beat the industry average 90% of the time.

Watson said a balanced approach more closely reflects the way consumers think about beer. "People want all segments, so we have to manage all of them," he said.

The top quartile also maintains a consistent pricing strategy, maintaining craft prices that index at 175 compared to premium beer prices; i.e., if an average 6-pack of premium beer costs $6, a six-pack of a craft beer costs 75% more, or $10.50.

Watson said it's a matter of setting expectations for the consumer. "If you're not asking them to pay more consistently, how can we expect them to trade up regularly?" he asked.

Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch brews Budweiser and Bud Light. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, Leuven, Belgium, the leading global brewer.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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