Seven out of the top ten beer brands will be owned by the consolidated ‘megabrew’ company following AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller.
And while the brand list naturally features the biggest brands from the multinational companies, analysts recognise the importance of craft beer, calling the sector a ‘relatively small but influential part of the category.’
Meanwhile, top ranking beer Budweiser also makes it to 31st place in Millward Brown and WPP’s ‘BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands’ rankings across all sectors: a chart topped by Google, Apple and Microsoft.
In the beer top 10, Budweiser is followed by Bud Light, Heineken, Stella Artois and Skol.
Brandz rankings are created using a calculation of financial value as well as consumer perception of a brand (such as how it is meaningful or different for consumers)
Megabrew: 7 out of 10 brands
As announced in 2015, the world’s biggest brewer AB InBev is set to acquire SABMiller (the world’s second-largest brewer), resulting in a combined portfolio of 400 brands.
The new consolidated company will own seven of the BrandZ Beer Top 10 Brands. (Heineken and Guinness are rivals while SABMiller will divest its stake in Molson as part of the AB InBev/SABMiller deal and will not own Coors Light).
“In a curious dichotomy, the beer industry is fragmenting at the same time it is massively consolidating,” observes the report.
“Particularly in mature markets, the beer category is beginning to resemble the wine category, with a proliferation of choices based on taste and provenance.
“There are over 4,000 breweries in the US, and with a market share of just over 12%, craft beer remains a relatively small but influential part of the category,” continued the report, drawing on figures from The Brewers Association.
“A six-pack holder that customers can customize with any combination of beer brands is among the best-selling stock keeping units at Kroger, a leading US supermarket chain.
“This explosion in variety indicates the power of brand stories and experience to inspire consumer interest. It also reflects a global generational shift in preference to sweeter taste, lower alcoholic content and healthier ingredients. Government regulations both mirror and encourage these trends.”
Experience and purpose
Traditional premium light beers are attempting to connect with millennials with stories that present their brand history and heritage in an authentic way, says the report.
It notes Budweiser’s ‘Not Backing Down’ Super Bowl ad, which “presented the brand as a muscular counterpoint to craft options.”
Meanwhile Stella Artois, distinguished for emphasizing the drinking experience with a signature ‘chalice’ glass, has pledged that with each chalice purchased, Stella Artois will provide clean drinking water in impoverished countries.
Heineken has a partnership with the Bond franchise and the film Spectre was the brand’s largest global marketing platform in 2015, with a campaign across 85 markets.
Meanwhile, 2015 is a big sporting year and beer brands are expected to benefit from this.
“Brands are expected to refine their messages to reach more targeted audiences with digital marketing this year, at the same time they create mass campaigns around two major sporting events, the European football championship in June and the Summer Olympics in Brazil,” says the report.
Top three brand building points
BrandZ’ top three brand building tips are:
1) Be authentic
“The rise of craft signals the need for authenticity. But being authentic is not always about being crafty. It is about being real. The core meaning of beer is social. It is about connecting people. Provenance adds authenticity by rooting that connection in a specific place.”
2) Build brands around home occasions
“Develop creative new ways to build brands based on the drinking occasions that happen at home, given the decline of on-premise consumption.”
3) Refine social media communication
“Use social media effectively to present the brand with a sense of personal engagement even though the brand is communicating to a mass audience.”