The age of crafty marketing


little-creatures-beer-cafeCraft beer was once viewed as a drink for ‘beer snobs’ or ‘elitists’.

It is now one of the fastest growing areas of the alcohol industry as mainstream beer sales continue to drop.

The consumption of craft beer has increased annually by six per cent since the mid 1970s as more Australians discover and accept different flavours with open mouths.

There are more than 100 craft breweries in Australia now stocked in chain and independent bottle shops around the country.

Australians are changing their preferences and opting to spend more on a quality product.

This means some larger companies are now struggling to retain once loyal drinkers, with big marketing campaigns failing next to the superior flavours of craft beverages.

Many of the smaller craft breweries are being bought by international conglomerates, such as Lion, SAB Miller, and Carlton United Breweries.

These companies are using their strong market presence to bring national attention to premium drinks, while taking advantage of one of the fastest growing liquor markets around the world.

One of the difficulties of craft beer lies in its marketing.

Many breweries operate as bars and restaurants that sell their beer locally. This helps gain a strong local following, but represents a challenge in expanding the product to a wider audience.

Some breweries are pushing nationally, however, with varied Australian producers now gaining international attention.

Well known Australian craft brewers, like James Squire and Little Creatures, have secured mainstream attention nationally, but independent brewers have also managed to take advantage of a changing market.

This last trend means breweries like the Australian Brewery and Feral Brewing are stocked nationally in Dan Murphy’s and BWS respectively.

The case for changing tastes

David Ward from Australian Brewery says that Australians are changing their tastes to a more sophisticated and expensive beer.

He suggests Australian beer is beginning to be seen as a premium product as the psyche starts to shift. This is happening not only locally, but with international beer drinkers as well.

While multi-nationals SAB Miller (UK) and Kirin Holding (Japan) still control around 90 per cent of the beer market in Australia, craft beers are set to become a force to be reckoned with.

This will only happen more as breweries pop up all over the country and begin to move into national bottle shops.

This makes the case for strategic and well thought out campaigns at a local level, in order for big names to win the fight against the craft beer.

Mainstream brands need to take note.

Kirsty Dollisson is the GM of TorchMedia; a shopper specialist that holds the exclusive rights to Woolworths’ instore media. Contact her on or (02) 8404 3900.


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