As previously stated , Corona was once shipped to The States in a squatty, brown bottle with a neck label consisting of the colors red, white and green; the colors of the Mexican flag. This was during a period when the Mexican imported market was dominated by Carta Blanca and Tecate. All that started to change when Corona went to the clear bottle.
Even after the change, Corona was having difficulty finding wholesalers. Statewide distribution rights were initially offered to Glazers when Corona came to Texas, but the distributor refused the offer. Glazers did, however, accept the rights for their West Texas markets. Glazers later got Corona for central Texas, when they bought the Coors operation in Waco, and soon another distributor in east Texas out of Longview. When the AB wholesalers wanted to purchase the Modelo brands, they balked at the price Glazers was willing to sell.
If the AB guys could get a mulligan, it is a good bet they would have purchased the brands after all. Those wholesalers who turned down Modelo regret that decision to this day. This, in itself, has been one of the reasons the industry is in its current state. Wholesalers, when approached by a new or up-and-coming craft beer, are now looking harder at accepting the brands. No one wants to turn down what might be the next Corona.
A recent article from Beer Business Daily ran a comment from a distributor, which the author of the article believed; retailers were focusing too much on brands that did not matter. The distributor commented: “We have too many key retail buyers absolutely giddy about ‘what’s hot!!’ with little bitty ‘hot’ brands instead of any balanced conversation, including how major brand VOLUME drives their overall beer category. I cannot believe that in this day and age, retailers continue to dominate their conversations with BRANDS THAT DO NOT MATTER!”
The author of the article goes on to state that it does not make sense to cut a facing off a brand such as Blue Moon, or a display for an unproven craft product. Similar comments are mirrored from other major vendors. Taking a keg-a-week brand off tap for a keg-a-month brand makes no sense for the retailer, brewer, wholesaler and or the consumer.
Than the question is: how fair is it to make these comments when distributors are working hard to acquire any new in-coming brand? Distributors have a process in which they review all potentially new breweries. Eliminating those breweries which do not meet THEIR requirements, but often taking those breweries that meet THEIR requirements, even if said brand has little, to no track record.
These brands have to get to market. Distributors have to find space so another beer has to be eliminated. Ideally it is the competitor’s brand that is eliminated, but that might not be what the retailer has in mind. Something has to give.
All levels of the industry are frustrated, whether it is the established breweries that are losing sales, focus and shelf space, or the imports. Crafts are fighting to get to market, either by self-distributing or through the established system. Wholesalers are caught in the middle with franchise laws. Do I bet on this brand or do I let it go?
What it really boils down to is: you deserve the life you tolerate.