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Drink Less? No. Just Drink Cheaper

Back in April, YouGovPolimetrix' Brand Index released a report indicating that four brands - Coors' Keystone, A-B/InBev's Busch, Miller Brewing Co.'s Milwaukee's Best and Icehouse - are so besmirched that the breweries should consider retiring them.

Now this from the The Wall Street Journal:

At a cost about $5 less per case than flagship brands such as Bud Light or Miller Lite, beer companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors are surviving the downturn thanks to rising sales of lower-cost beers, including Busch and Keystone Light.

Great quote from the story indicating why these brands are doing well.

Gillian Singletary, 24, of Los Angeles, has been buying more Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life and less Stella Artois and Pete's Wicked Ale. She said Blue Ribbon is seen as hip - in a retro way - at some L.A. bars.

"Drinking less doesn't really seem like the best option, so finding the cheapest way to drink is definitely one of my goals," said Ms. Singletary, a free-lance writer and executive assistant in the health-care industry.

I love this quote. It is a great illustration of the types of choices consumers use in making a purchasing decision. For this consumer, reducing consumption was not a viable choice. Selecting a less expensive alternative was the chosen path and with a stable of offerings at different price points, Busch and InBev are holding some of the business.

Not every brand will do well at every point in the business cycle. It is very important to remember the context of the economy and markets when analyzing research results and stated consumer choices. Otherwise, you might just kill off the product that would be your leading seller when the economy is down.