Tequila brings to mind thoughts of Mexico, just as champagne and whisky conjure thoughts of France and Scotland, respectively. Along those same lines, when one thinks of beer, the country of Germany often comes to mind as the premier beer producing country. Obviously, certain types of alcohol are associated with the countries of their origin.
During my college summers when I worked on a Coors beer truck, the week of July 4th was always a killer. It was the number one holiday, by far, for beer sales. In fact, on July 3rd, we would leave the warehouse around 6:30 am and not complete our route until after dark, including at least two re-loads of the beer truck. But, because I was paid by the hour, this was perfectly fine with me.
In the 70s, it was the 4th, Memorial Day, and, of course Labor Day, that really drove volume. New Year’s Eve was the only other holiday that produced a large jump in sales.
By the 80s, Modelo, with Corona, started to push Cinco de Mayo with great success. Today, Cinco is a celebrated not only in its country of origin, but also through many parts of the United States, and is thus supported by all the Mexican beers. Corona, Modelo Especial, Dos Equis, Tecate and all the other Mexican brews benefit.
Around this same time, Coors introduced Elvira for Halloween, signifying October 31st as a party day for those over 21. While Elvira, the actress, was fully in support of the Coors brand, the brewery’s leadership made the decision to eliminate the actress from their marketing plan, thus resulting in the company’s loss of any ownership of Halloween. Even the Super Bowl now has become a beer event, with all brands targeting this weekend.
And, of course, there is Oktoberfest, which is in actuality, more a season in early fall than a one-day holiday. Prior to the World Wars, German American Day was a big celebration in many cities, especially in areas where the population included high German demographics. The advent of WWI, however, ended this celebration and, and it was not until President Regan resurrected the holiday in 1983 that it returned. In 1987, Congress passed a law naming October 6th German-American Day.
Unfortunately, the holiday has been overshadowed by Oktoberfest with multiple celebrations during the month-long season. All German beers mark this time of year as their high volume season. Many crafts offer Oktoberfest seasonally. Another spike in sales.
The industry celebrates holidays and brands build their annual marketing plans around these days. Tactically, the Germans target Oktoberfest; the Mexicans target Cinco de Mayo and ABI and MC target all the holidays. Some crafts can even claim a holiday based on their business model, similar to Veterans Brewing Co. which targets Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
But today, St. Patrick’s Day, is the only holiday which the industry celebrates that is directly tied to one brand of beer: Guinness. It is very rare to find an on premise bar which celebrates St. Patty’s that does not promote Guinness. Chains, package stores, c-stores and even club stores all have Guinness displays, signs, and price promotions during this Irish week of celebrations. It is Guinness’s week.
So to all the readers of this blog, Happy St. Pats Day! And to Guinness, who owns this day, Carpe diem!