Big Beer is Wounded, Here’s How They’re Trying to Heal

This is how we know craft beer is winning.

It’s not necessarily the almost 8 percent (and growing) market share or the nearly 2,800 operating breweries or craft’s cornering of the IPA, the style for which people have an insatiable demand.

It’s because if you look around, you can see signs of wavering confidence in Big Beer’s marketing.

In recent days, I found two such examples.

Embrace Your Drunkenness

Planning a big night with your friends? Maybe had one too many?

Miller Lite is now looking to capitalize on the drunk pics 20-somethings feel obligated to post on Facebook and Twitter:


This ad doesn’t condone binge drinking, but it feels a little shady that MillerCoors is cool with capitalizing on it. Use of the hashtag on Twitter almost exclusively supplies selfies with bottles or cans of Miller, so that seems harmless.

But you also get some gems like these:

millertime-woman millertime-kids

… and people hijacking the hashtag to highlight their personal causes related to alcohol:


Either way, “those embarrassing pictures” Miller Lite is seeking are synonymous with being drunk and if that’s what it takes to engage with the Millennial consumer base, it’s a little disappointing to see a company sinking to that level, even if it’s only one part of a variety of marketing efforts across all mediums.

Get Paid to Drink

If you think craft beer is too expensive, don’t feel bad about going for more flavorful “crafty” beers. Hell, you can even get paid for doing so!

mail-in rebate-beer

This is the first time I’ve ever seen mail-in rebates for buying beer, with these brought to you by AB InBev and MillerCoors. Blue Moon and Leinenkugel are certainly very popular to begin with, so it seems like a good move to offer drinkers even more incentive to pick those brands up.

However, if this tactic seems familiar to you, it might be because cigarette companies have been doing it for years. These rebates are only good for purchases in New York by state residents, which is why it’s the first time I’ve seen them. Have you?

All this is very timely as we move into summer, a time when consumers are predicted to spend $11 billion on beer. Now is the time to maximize awareness and interest, but as I came across these two examples this week, I kept thinking: at what cost?


+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac


10 thoughts on “Big Beer is Wounded, Here’s How They’re Trying to Heal

  1. Not exactly the same, and I don’t think “free” beer is legal, but back in 2009 or so I went to buy a BBQ grill and the promo was something along the lines of: “Buy any grill $199 or more and a 30 pack of *insert BMC beer here*, and receive a $30 mail in rebate.”

    I remember it was from the brewery… or maybe a distributor but I thought it was odd..It wasn’t the store or the grill company. I remember that much.

    1. When I saw this, a friend commented about similar rebates in grocery stores where you’d get an even bigger rebate for buying a pound of meat (or something similar) and a 12-pack.

  2. This is kind of appalling… So they’re encouraging people to use their product inappropriately and then brag about it?

    1. Well, not explicably. I think it’s inappropriate to glorify the action, but in a literal sense they’re just asking people to share what they’re already doing, which I guess is better?

      Either way, it’s not something that’s an ideal way to market something, let alone beer.

  3. It’s tempting to hijack the hashtag and takes pictures of people dumping cheap miller beer down the drain where it belongs


    Check that link out. The fact that they are using rebates is confusing when you consider that ” Blue Moon White continues to outsell Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale put together, and by more than 20 percent.”

    1. Gluttony is a powerful feeling. Thanks a bunch for sharing that link!

  5. I look forward to reading about people ‘extreme couponing’ a liquor store. I don’t know why but thought of it tickles me.

    1. Buy 2 handles of vodka, get a free bag of regret!

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