For as long as I can recall, every major supplier has in some way, focused on marketing their products to the female consumer. Once again, this topic is front and center at many winter and early spring wholesaler meetings. As the overall industry continues to lose volume to other types of drinks, one way in which to aid the industry is marketing to the female consumer. This is nothing new.
Before light beers, Coors Banquet was one of the very first beers to actually have some success selling to the female market. Coors had a tagline, “America’s Fine Light Beer,” and the beer was sold in a tall, slim can, similar to today’s Michelob Ultra packaging. Light beers aided in adding volume, but when the first RTDs came to market, it looked as though the industry finally had a product-focused straight for women. Soon Bartle and James arrived on the scene, followed by Mikes Hard Lemonade and others.
While these products resulted in additional female consumers, the beer industry continued to fall behind the sales of wine and flavored spirits. The most recent product category to impact the female market was the Not Your Father’s Root Beer and related flavors which are sweet to the taste. Retailers quickly created serving suggestions, including NYFRB atop ice cream resulting in a root beer float. Such specialty drinks did well, but all were short-lived. As recently noted, NYFRB sales were down 60% and still trending down. Finally, ciders added a small bump with females, but that category, too, has recently moved to negative trends.
A recent extension, based on wine’s success, might be the liquid to finally jump start beers’ market share with the female segment. Rose’ ales and ciders are the new, latest and greatest flavor to hit the market. Cidergeist Bubbles, a rose’ ale from Rhinegeist in Cincinnati, is now producing 20% of the volume and growth. According to the brewery, Rhinegest cannot keep up with the demand. Now the big boys are all jumping in as Boston Beers has Angry Orchard’s Rose’ and MC will have Crispin Rose’. Expect AB to add a product in this category. Although smaller brewers will have a rose’ expect, as always, that the big boys will own this category. Even Ballast Point will have a rose’ supported by Constellation brands and their team. Look to see rose’ everywhere.
The question is, will rose’ be the long sought-after breakthrough product for females, or will rose’ be just one more product to rocket up and then fall back within a short time? Distributors and retailers, now in tune with these specialty flavors, will probably stand back and watch at first, making as much profit as they can until the industry sees what kind of legs rose’ possesses.
Will rose’ be another NYFRB, or will it be the next Blue Moon? Will we know by the end of the year?
Buffalo wings and ciders is all I need…