The 8 Beers Americans are No Longer Drinking: Producers Must Adapt

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Research by 24/7 Wall St., and published in an MSNBC.com article, examined the sales of 23 of the largest selling beer products in the United States. The research found that eight had suffered a decline of 30% or more in sales between 2005 and 2010.

Americans have lost the taste for the following 8 beers:

8.  Budweiser (30% sales loss)

7.  Milwaukee’s Best Light (34% sales loss)

6.  Miller Genuine Draft (51% sales loss)

5.  Old Milwaukee (52% sales loss)

4.  Milwaukee’s Best (53% sales loss)

3.  Bud Select (60% sales loss)

2.  Michelob Light (64% sales loss)

1.  Michelob (72% sales loss)

Observations

It appears the Milwaukee beers are having a tough time right now. The noticeable trend, however, is that full-calorie beers are not too popular today, given they have about 145 calories per can. Light beers, on the other hand, contain about 100 calories, and ultra light beer sports 90 calories. In a culture that has become more health-conscious, Americans are opting for beers that have a smaller impact on their waist size.

Change or Become Extinct

I was sitting at the LAX airport recently making my connection from Seoul, South Korea to San Antonio. I had about an hour or so before my flight, and the United Airlines Red Carpet lounge was in Terminal 7, which was too far away, so I decided to have a drink at a bar restaurant.

The menu read something like this …

· Item #1: Big Burger and Fries

· Item #2: Cheesy Quesadillas

· Item #3: Chicken Fingers and Fries 

· Item #4: Mediterranean Chicken Salad

· Item #5: More fried stuff!

This airport restaurant is following the “full calorie” beer producer’s strategy. Given the recent trends, it appears that the days for high-caloric food are numbered. I understand a segment of the population, such as males between the ages of 20 and 34, will continue to eat fatty foods, but a growing number of Americans are looking for healthier choices. Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors Brewing (maker of the Milwaukee line) are feeling the impact of this health-conscious wave.  

When we fail to adapt, competition will force us out of the market. This is the survival of the fittest way of thinking. In a free market society, the weak companies are driven out of the market by those organizations providing superior products and services to the customer. It’s only a matter of time before the ceiling falls through. It’s the reality of the situation.

The Market is Talking to You

The problems facing beer producers provides a clear example where the market is talking to us, but we are failing to listen. In other words, we are marching forward, and failing to pay attention to the warning cues. Many organizations are facing similar situations, which means it’s time to act is now, and not when we are forced to do it.

We should use reverse engineering. Let’s stop thinking we understand what the customer wants. We need to ask the customer, and use that feedback to make adjustments. With the beer companies, this might suggest promoting one beer over another. If necessary, we can pursue a more aggressive merger and acquisition strategy.

The Cold, Hard Facts!

We are not invincible. A big market share can disappear faster than one might think. Even when the customer has limited choices, they can elect not to buy from you. In fact, the customer can develop such a sour taste that they convince others to stop using your product or service.

A cold beer is appreciated by many, but not just any beer. Most customers today are interested in beverages that don’t add too many pounds. The customer speaks by actions, which means they will either buy or not buy. If we have our ear to the ground, we can detect that feedback and make quick changes.

When we fail to listen to the customer, there is one undeniable reality: Extinction.

 

Dr. Jimmie Flores,PhD,PMP,ITIL,SSBB,SPHR,GPHR is a seasoned organizational development and continuous improvement professional with 20 years of experience.  In 2006, he founded the Flores Consulting Group, a company based in San Antonio, TX.   Dr. Flores is also an expert in project management, ITIL, Six Sigma, Entrepreneurship, and Sports Officiating. Please visit our website at http://www.jmbok.com

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