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Introducing Mead- One of the Fastest Growing Beverage Segments for 2014!

Mead may sound new to your ears. However, it is undeniably one of the longest known fermented drinks throughout history stemming from Europe, Asia, and Africa. In fact, it’s the ancestor of all fermented drinks.

What is Mead?

Mead is an alcoholic beverage that is fermented from honey with water, and frequent fruits, spices, and hops. Mead can have an alcohol content between 8-20 percent, and can come in forms that are carbonated, sparkling, dry, or semi-sweet.

How the Underdog Gained a Presence.

Much like craft brew, Mead began in basements or garages as a simple idea before going mainstream. In the beginning, Mead even had less prominence than the craft brew idea. Until, Schramm started making Mead and contacted another Michiganian, Bill Pfeiffer, one of the first five beer judges in the country who was also “mead maker of the year.” Pfeiffer referred Schramm to the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, where he came in contact with Dr. Dan McConnell, a Ph.D., in microbiology research from the University of Michigan. Let’s just say, it took off from there…

Mead in Current Time

For the first time in history, there is now a ‘Mead Organization’ known as, “The International Mead Association” (IMA). This organization is quickly becoming the backbone of the Mead industry. The sustainability of this product has been locked into place! Aside from the wonderful taste- Mead is a job creator and an economy booster. While a vineyard uses machinery, an Apiary (where Mead is created) is hands on, large scale bee keeping which requires many positions to attain. Doesn’t get sweeter than that!

It’s possible that mead, the first alcoholic beverage, is the most sustainable alcoholic beverage and may, in fact, be the last alcoholic beverage enjoyed by human. It’s a tasteful, sweet, enjoyable experience that in time has become more in demand than craft brew itself. Who knew?

Nice to Mead ya!

Author: Katherine Rosecrans


The changing shape of beverage promotion & POS

Coca-Cola has long been known for its iconic contour bottle shape. The current trend in beverage marketing is to try to mimic that success. The creation of a unique bottle or can that increases recognition is becoming more important in today’s ever-crowded marketplace. Research shows that packaging as art is a lever that definitely drives consumer consideration. Ultimately the consumer will make a decision based on the experiential – the way a product sits on the shelf or how it feels in the hand.

Budweiser’s new center-crimped can (designed to reinforce their iconic bowtie image) is a great example of this trend. Craft brewing giant, Boston Beer Company, has rolled out a new flared lip, purported to better capture aroma and enhance the beer drinking experience. The standard beer/soda can has not seen such profound change since the pop top was invented in 1959.

Pepsi is rolling out a new swirl-handled bottle shape for its core product lines this April. Dainty, limited edition 7.5 ounce designer decorated cans will also grace store shelves.

With all this attention to detail, to put these functional masterpieces in mundane POS displays just seems – criminal. The opportunity to take in-store displays and develop something truly exceptional could be the only way for brands to stand out in a sea of iconic eye-candy.


Whiskey, women and the changing face of distilled spirit promotion

The promotion of whisky to women is not new, it is just making a comeback.

Women are drinking it, blogging about it, and cooking with it. Bars and restaurants are promoting events specifically for women who have a passion for this caramel-colored spirit, infused with notes of peat and spice. Clubs for female whisky aficionados are becoming popular. Heck, they have even their very own typeface.

Marketers who once viewed whisky as a manly man’s drink are seeing this spirit from a different perspective – a female perspective. How to win the women who love whisky? Be as bold as the women who drink it.

Customer engagement is key to stimulating trial. Below is a unique twist on sampling that’s a novel take on the age old practice of getting a target market to sip your spirit:

Taste & Peel
Tasting strips are well suited for spirits. Wafer-thin film, packaged in a branded foil packet is a unique way to deliver the flavor without the alcohol. They are very similar to mouthwash strips – but way better tasting! Technology allows you to emulate the flavor of a spirit or mixed drink. Perfect for dry tastings, on/in pack promotion, or direct mail campaigns.





Promotional needs for craft brew are changing with the return of THE CAN

Promoting craft brew used to be as simple as a new release and a bunch of brand evangelists. No so much anymore.

According to a Mintel research report, sales of craft beer have more than doubled from 5.7 billion in 2007 to 12 billion in 2012. Expectations are that market for craft beer will be an 18 billion dollar market by 2017.

Why such growth? Perhaps it is the authenticity of the product tapping into the consumer search for “real” product. Could it be that craft has become synonymous with the consumer search for products perceived to be more organic and less highly produced? Regardless, craft brew has become a beer industry powerhouse.

Along with this growth, craft brewers have begun to adopt marketing tactics more in step with their macro brewing cousins.

All hail the return of The Can.  Marketer’s beware of cookie cutter complacency. This is not beer can as usual. Specialty shapes and sizes are showing up on shelves. Four packs versus six packs, slim versus wide – craftbrewers are seeking to differentiate themselves from the ordinary. Industry standard displays will have to be tweaked or fundamentally redesigned to serve the needs of this growing segment. Research shows that a brew’s personality is a major selling feature for target markets.

Our thoughts … Time to crack open a can of your favorite brew and hit the drawing board. Craft brew promotion needs a new flavor.


Five successful wine tactics for marketing your craft brew

Looking for a growing segment in the beverage category? Craft beer is gaining in popularity, and market share. Facing competion from macro brewers and the ever expanding craft selection, how will new brews break through growing competition in the cold case?

The growing assortment of craft brews at retail give consumers more choice than ever. Craft brewers are looking to new ways to get their product to stand out on-premise and on retail shelves. Tap handles, coastersbar mats, and tacker signs are great ways to expand awareness – but is it enough to stand out in today’s crowded market?

With an emphasis on food pairings, aromas, and how to cook with it, the craftbrew conversation seems to more akin to wine than its macro brewing cousins. Perhaps craftbrewers should take inspiration from promotional products developed for wines.

1. The Recipie Pen
A great way to pass on great recipies, food pairings, or tasting notes. The retractable banner is a unique spin on a popular promotional product.

2. The Bottle Necker
On-pack promotion can get you noticed in or out of the cold case. Insert literature or small items like lapel pins.

3. Chill Bags
Nothing is better than a perfectly chilled bottle of beer. Except maybe receiving a perfectly chilled bottle of beer. What better way to brand your product, stimulate trial, create buzz, and deliver a memorable impression.

4. Shelf Talkers
Communicate your passion! Move more off the shelf by sharing your vision, your experience, your tasting notes with this time honored promotional tradition.

5. Custom Gift Bags
Treat hand-crafted specialty brews like high-end champagne. Offering a gift bag with purchase treats special brews with the status they so richly deserve.

Go beyond traditional brewing for ideas to get your brand noticed. Translate successful promotional ideas used by the grandiose grape to the humble hop and see what happens.

Innovative Marketing Consultants is a proud member of the Brewers Association. CLICK to view the entire press Brewers Association release.