Back in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, talking beer stein characters Schultz and Dooley promoted the mellow taste and naturalness of Utica Club lager in TV commercials. At the time, the brand was a strong regional competitor produced in Utica, N.Y., by West End Brewing Co., which is known today as F.X. Matt Brewing Co.
Appealing mostly to female consumers and younger consumers of legal drinking age (LDA), the flavored malt beverages (FMBs) — also known as progressive adult beverages (PABs) — segment of the beer market brings in a slightly different demographic than the typical beer drinker, says Jeff Nowicki, chief strategy officer at Bump Williams Consulting Co., Stratford, Conn.
When it comes to the overall alcohol market, manufacturers not only are analyzing their own brand sales but also the respective categories in which they compete. For the beer category, hard ciders are offering consumers an entry point into this multibillion dollar industry, experts note.
Although craft beer case and dollar sales came in at a distant third to domestics and imports during the 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2013, in Information Resources Inc. (IRI)-measured channels, the burgeoning segment is making strides to garner more of that market share.
As the economy stabilizes, consumers are trading up for the premium beer offerings available through the imported beers segment, says Edward Hyseh, U.S. research analyst for Euromonitor International, Chicago.
The beer category, which includes domestic beer, imported beer, craft beer, hard cider and flavored malt beverages, has mostly remained flat or suffered minimal declines in off-premise accounts in recent years, according to market research firms.