beverages

Index Finds Four Beer Brands Worth Retiring

Rolling RockRolling Rock's popularity might be soggy, but the brand -- which is reportedly up for sale by Anheuser-Busch InBev -- is not on the bottom of the consumer perception barrel for beers. Other beer brands suffer from worse reputations among consumers polled by YouGovPolimetrix' Brand Index, which says it is the only daily consumer-perception research service.

Four brands -- Coors' Keystone, A-B/InBev's Busch, and Miller Brewing Co.'s Milwaukee's Best and Icehouse -- demonstrate that longevity does not mean equity. The brands are so besmirched that the breweries should consider retiring them, it says.

The index -- which tracks 30 beer brands -- says that not only is the perception of those brands negative, but it is negative by a long shot.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm says the four don't have a single positive score in the ranking based on surveys of men from January this year until this past Friday. The scores are based on an average of the satisfaction, quality, impression, reputation, value, and recommendation scores. In none of those parameters did any of the four brands score positive numbers, per the firm.

Ted Marzilli, SVP and global managing director for YouGov BrandIndex, says in the two years the firm has been following the category, the four brands at the bottom have stayed at the bottom. "But Keystone and Milwaukee's Best rate much lower than Busch and Icehouse."

He says Busch is relatively popular among 50-plus consumers, lower-income consumers and those in the Midwest. "And when you look at Icehouse it has a niche among African-Americans and is rated more highly by women; its selling points are that it is less bitter, and crisper than others."

Brands that have moved up over time include include Corona, which has gone up modestly, Pacifico and Heineken Light. Marzilli says Budweiser has dropped four or five points recently.

Milwaukee's Best has a minus-20 ranking, followed in ascending order by Keystone, Icehouse and Busch, at minus-10. The industry average in the index is currently around 4.9. At the other end of the spectrum is Samuel Adams, with the highest score -- 26.51 -- of the 30 major beer brands tracked by the Index. Two through five on the list are Heineken, Guinness, Corona and Michelob, with a ranking of 13.12. And Rolling Rock comes in at number 18, with a score of 3.18.

Per the research firm, BrandIndex interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample, constituting some 1.2 million interviews per year. The research firm says respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than a million consumers, with a +/- 2% margin of error.

1 comment about "Index Finds Four Beer Brands Worth Retiring ".
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  1. Kern Lewis from GrowthFocus, Inc., April 22, 2009 at 3:29 p.m.

    This article (or at least its title) draws a too-hasty conclusion. Poor survey results may be worth suffering if the brands still generate a good return! I am not in the beverage industry, but I suspect the COGS is low, and marketing not a huge burden, for such low-price leaders. And they have a very different target audience than Sam Adams, so their relative result is less damning than it seems.

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