The multimillion-dollar ad takes direct aim at an industry that’s slowly put Asheville on the map over the past 20 years since Highland Brewing started making its beer. It’s an industry that’s steadily been chipping away at the market share of the big beer makers like Budweiser. From the Wall Street Journal in July 2014:
Craft beer makers have experienced huge jumps in market share while the overall beer market size has shrunk. The Census Bureau announced yesterday that the number of breweries in the in the U.S. doubled in five years–an increase largely due to craft beer. On average over the past two years, 1.2 craft breweries opened each day, contributing to a total of 15.6 million barrels of beer last year.
While that’s only 7.8% of the U.S. beer market share, according to data Brewers Association, an American craft beer trade group, craft beer is taking an ever-increasing chunk out of noncraft beer companies’ sales. The number of liters of beer purchased per year has stayed the same and is expected to shrink slightly, according to data from research firm Euromonitor. Meanwhile the population has risen. That means people on average are consuming less beer and, if they’re consuming beer, it’s more and more likely to be craft.
The most immediate reaction from craft beer lovers to the Budweiser ad has been: wow, Budweiser must be scared. Really scared. It’s easy to poke fun and hipsters, and Budweiser has most certainly lost money to the craft beer industry.
The ad won’t help Budweiser woo new fans. It just solidifies the positions between the craft beer lovers and the non-craft beer lovers, although personally, I think that’s a false dichotomy. I love my locally made craft beer. I also have no problem knocking back my fair share of big-beer products.
The best response for Asheville breweries will simply be to keep cranking out top-notch beer. Drinkers will keep voting with their dollars.