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    PG Web Extra: Beer & Wine Category Management

    Retailers target promotions, online sales to grow spirits traffic

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    Chicago-based MillerCoors has been focused on helping retailers identify relevant shopper solutions that are engaging and make it easier for customers to plan for meals while increasing basket spend. Additionally, retailers are looking to disrupt the shopper through digital and social media as more and more consumers look to find real-time offers and recipes on their mobile devices.

    This gave birth to the brewer’s latest promotion, “Get Grillin’ with Guy,” a partnership between the Miller Lite brand and Food Network celebrity Guy Fieri. The platform offers customizable retail solutions centered around beer and food occasions with a foundation of custom recipes that pair with or use Miller Lite as an ingredient.

    “Our customers all want tailored solutions,” says Brad Stevenson, MillerCoors’ VP of grocery.

    By leveraging the program tools, retailers can engage shoppers with new ideas for any grilling occasion. Retailers can include Fieri content on their own digital properties, select from his recipes and link to cooking demonstrations, grilling tip videos and other content that lives on GrillwithGuy.com. By leveraging their digital and social media assets, retailers are able to reach shoppers before they enter the store, while in-store displays remind shoppers that their store is a beer destination and inspire shoppers to try new recipes.

    This platform can be customized for seasonal events, from summer grilling to fall tailgating. For example, a major national grocery retailer featured Miller Lite and Guy Fieri as part of its own summer grilling program online and in stores by leveraging program assets along the path to purchase. A digital awareness campaign engaged shoppers with an “Add to Grocery” shopping list component and landing page with a link to recipes and food pairings. Further, a large southwestern regional grocer launched a “Beer & Burger Days” program featuring Fieri’s recipes and offered consumers a chance to win grills and coolers.

    Effective Promotions

    Retailers that maximize the ad block space for spirits in their weekly circulars are most effective at driving beer and wine sales, according to data from Solon, Ohio-based ECRM

    In ECRM’s latest rankings for retailers promoting beer and wine, for the year ending Nov. 29, 2014, Safeway and its banners dominated the field. Following Ahold’s Giant Food Landover in the No. 1 spot were Tom Thumb and Randall’s (Safeway’s banners in Texas), then Safeway’s flagship banner, Vons and Pavilions (Safeway in Southern California), and Carrs (Safeway’s banner in Alaska).

    “This tells me that Safeway really promotes adult beverages,” says Dan Harvey, ECRM promotional business analyst.

    Domestic beer had the greatest share of ad support, at nearly 39 percent, followed closely by wine at just over 34 percent, according  to ECRM data. Imported and craft beers ranked with 14 percent and 7 percent respectively, with hard cider (2.6 percent), sparkling spirits (1.6 percent), malt liquor (1.5 percent) and nonalcoholic beer (.03 percent) rounding out the list.

    Predictably, the biggest ad spikes for beer and wine coincided with key celebratory holidays – Christmas, Easter, Labor Day and Thanksgiving – with lesser bumps around Memorial Day and the Super Bowl. Also not unexpected were the biggest manufacturer and brand shares of ad support: Anheuser-Busch and its flagship Budweiser brand, followed by MillerCoors.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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