You may be one of the many who believe there’s no way ABI could have any positive impact on the Craft Beer Industry. If you’re one of these folks you might be mistaken. ABI continues to develop its Global Management Trainee Program and put less value on seasoned employees. Veteran employees with countless years of industry knowledge, a deep understanding of consumer tendencies/behavior, wholesaler/retailer relationships and the drive to do what’s right for the customer are discredited by ABI…and have left big beer to join the Craft Beer movement.
Insert Side Rant
(ABI recruits Ivy League educated millennials with no industry knowledge. They hire the young graduates in wholesaler/account management roles where they cascade unrealistic goals set by senior management, provide zero value and eventually get “promoted” to a different role within the company because they are on the verge of ruining company relationships with Wholesalers/Retailers.)
Many of the employees making the switch to craft beer have sat through hours if not days of training on standardized process, brewing, draft training, category management, power of the portfolio, etc…And as a result we’re seeing a big brewer approach being applied to a smaller craft world. This means large increases of distribution on craft brands that traditionally never had a voice. Those who were once driving under the influence of the AB way of life are now growing beards, untucking their golf shirts and removing their blackberry (iPhone?) belt clip. Instant credibility at a low cost and great upside…sign me up.
In closing, as the Craft Beer landscape continues to grow over 4,000 breweries and gain crucial market share…it’s important that we pause and salute BIG RED, this market shift couldn’t possible without their cost cutting banker mentality. Divesting in the people that helped build a 50 plus market share brewery will eventually bite them in the ass and we can only hope that then, they realize a business model that works in South America doesn’t work everywhere.