Voodoo Ranger Snagging More Shelf Space

Dear Client:

Yesterday, we teased a reveal of the secrets that are helping New Belgium get a better start than some competition in the new year.
As we reported, Nielsen had the New Belgium franchise up 3.5% for the four weeks to February 16, and now growing 1.5% YTD. Meanwhile, the other five top craft franchises were down, and overall beer was down 1.6%.

So: What’s New Belgium doing right?

A few things.

Fat Tire trends are getting a wee bit better, although they’re still challenged (in YTD IRI multi-outlet and convenience numbers to 1/27, the brand almost halved its 52-week -17% dollar trend, though as we’ve covered this data set gets a bit of lift from comps that don’t include NYE).

That could be accelerated by an imminent package redesign, set to hit in March, and a “new campaign around mountain lifestyle.” (Package refreshes often produce a low-single digit lift, brewers from Deschutes to Sierra have told CBD — or that’s the goal, anyway.)

But the Voodoo Ranger Family, which was around 30% of the New Belgium portfolio as of last fall, continues to grow and snag distribution and retailer adoption. That’s a real tailwind.

So far, communications chief Bryan Simpson tells CBD:
The Voodoo Family is up +28% all-in;
The IPA is up +7%;
The Imperial is up +17%;
And Juicy Haze is up +23%

Bryan says the brands’ “fantastic” rate of sale is being spread across more points of distribution “every day.”

They are “accelerating our Voodoo brand family growth by increasing our distribution across all markets and channels (especially in convenience and now with our 19.2oz cans),” Bryan says.

RANGER ROTATOR THE TOP FULL TIME CRAFT LAUNCH. Beyond that, ” Voodoo Ranger Rotator (the Liquid Paradise release) is the #1 full-time Craft launch to-date” — or top beer launch, period, if you take out the Steel Reserve FMB (that’s YTD 2019 in IRI).

Other packs are pulling too. NBB’s variety pack is up 6% for the year, “but +22% Feb to-date.” It’s a mix of Fat Tire White and “throwback” beers.

And a national release for Mural — the pink, 110-calorie take on aguas frescas brewed in collaboration with Mexico City’s Cerveceria Primus — is imminent.

LEADERSHIP HITTING THEIR STRIDE. Then, too, new CEO Steve Fechheimer and VP of marketing, Shaun Belongie, are not so new anymore. They’ve now been in place for more than a year.
That’s “starting to bear fruit with our distributors and retailers alike, coupled with consistent sales leadership, maintaining trust and momentum with chains and our key distributor partners,” says Bryan.

“Beyond that, I would say that we are doing a better job of staying focused as a New Belgium network and truly marketing & focusing on what is working, and being quick to pivot when something is not.”

MILLERCOORS’ SAINT ARCHER GOLD FINALLY HITTING PROMISED MARKETS

We’ve been reporting on MillerCoors’ imminent craft light lager, Saint Archer Gold, for months now. This week the 95-calorie helles-style lager will make its long-awaited debut in four markets, reports MillerCoors Behind the Beer Blog.

The quartet of test markets include Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; Indianapolis, IN; and Arizona, as previously reported last September [see BBD 09-25-2018].

It’s important to note that every territory above besides Arizona is a brand-new market for the San Diego-based Saint Archer, which was acquired by MillerCoors in late 2015. “The Saint Archer portfolio has been available in Arizona since late 2016,” per MC blog report.

MillerCoors will support the new brew “with a full media package” in each market, equipped with TV spots, digital/social campaign, “outdoor advertising, sampling events and a presence at MillerCoors-sponsored venues and events.”

“When beer drinkers in these test markets respond with the same enthusiasm we’re already seeing from distributors and retailers, it won’t be long before people elsewhere around the country can try this one-of-a-kind light craft lager,” MillerCoors officials wrote in a note to employees this week.

Until tomorrow,

Jenn, Jordan, and Harry

“Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address.”

  • Lane Olinghouse

———- Sell Day Calendar ———-
Today’s Sell Day: 19
Sell days this month: 20
Sell days this month last year: 20
This month ends on a: Thurs.
This month last year ended on a: Wed.
YTD sell days Over/Under: +1