You may recall that SABMiller CEO Graham Mackay recently discussed how beer consumers in the developing world are “trading up” from lower quality, cheap beer.
Granted, we may be talking apples and oranges when comparing beer in the United States and developing countries, but you still gotta wonder if Norman Adami, president and chief executive of Milwaukee’s Miller Brewing (a subsidiary of SABMiller), got the “trading up” memo.
In examing the flurry of new products from Anheuser-Busch, the Chicago Tribune quoted Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketers Insights: “The beer industry has been declining for years,” and “(the) high-end is really where it is happening in the beer industry.”
Adami then seemed to disgree.
“The key determiner of success or failure for every major beer brand in America will be its ability to stake out a differentiated positioning,” he said. “It’s not that people want to trade up. . . . but they are looking for brands that are distinctive.”
You’ve got to give the guy credit. He’s saying Miller Genuine Draft – which is now being promoted as “Grown Up” – is already good enough. But to me “better” is distinctive. The same old beer, no matter how much you spend on marketing, is not distinctive.