In a world where the amount of beer is endless, and the options are almost overwhelming, how do consumers decide which Brand is going to quench their thirst? Depending on the situation there are several things to consider, the most important being… what season is it? Each season stands apart from the others and gives breweries a chance not only to stretch the skills of their craft, but to push the boundaries of their Brand as well.
As a brewery, the main mission is to create an enjoyable beer, but first the consumer needs to be drawn to it amongst the ever growing and colorful craft-beer section of their local grocery store. Now, not only is the competition more varied than ever, but beer companies also have to contend with the seasons themselves. For example, in October people can’t get enough of pumpkin treats so they make Pumpkin Beer. Apple picking is a must do in the fall, so hard ciders are exceptionally popular. And absolutely don’t forget Oktoberfest. This provides a great excuse for breweries to create a new fall beer that references the well-known German festival. On the other hand, winter seasonal beers will most likely embody the classic winter flavors by including hints of cocoa, coffee, or even caramel. Summer brings along hot, outdoor recreation which offers an opportunity for brands like Sam Adams, Budweiser, and Sierra Nevada to create more light, citrus-y American Pale Ale. Offering not only their classics, but seasonal favorites gives consumers the beer they ultimately love in concordance with the temperature. While these Brands must adapt to creating more versatility in their products, it provides a refreshing change in consumers’ pallets as well as their eyes with slightly different packaging. In essence, instead of looking towards another Brand to fit their seasonal desires, they can stay central to the one they love. With seasonal beers only being offered for a limited time, it also triggers the physiological effect of “supply and demand” with consumers. In other words, what one cannot have, they immediately want. SO, will it be a refreshing beer such as a Summer Pale Ale, that they can sip on while relaxing by the pool? Or will it be something a little heavier and darker that will warm them up as they’re sitting by a fire, like a Winter Lager? According to Nielsen’s Craft Beer Category Design Audit, “66% of American craft beer buyers say that a beer’s package/label is “very” or “extremely” important for getting them to notice it”.
Seasonal beers are a great way to keep your consumers excited about your Brand because it is something new. Leinenkugel is a great example of a company that provides a seasonal beer for all four seasons; The Summer Shandy, The Canoe Paddler (Spring), Oktoberfest (Fall), The Snowdrift Vanilla Porter (Winter). Each one of their seasonal beers is only offered during a certain period of time, for example “The Canoe Paddle” is only offered from March to July. This use of scarcity also benefits a Brand because it creates a sense of urgency that motivates consumers to purchase the product before it goes off the market.
As a beer company some of your Brands might already be associated with certain times of the year without having to market it specifically for a season. A great example to look at is the Mexican pale ale known as Corona. Coronas are offered all year long, yet still have an association with warmth and being outside. While technically it is not considered a seasonal beer, the marketing done for this Brand has had the ability to build a connection between their product with any time someone thinks of a sunny day. Seasons provide a perfect opportunity for any brewery or large beer company to create a beverage that can help build the Brand of their products and bring in more consumers.