Why you should start doing variety packs
Beer variety packs or mixed packs (6-packs 12-packs 24-packs) were moved from warm displays to three or four doors in the store's beer coolers when sellers noticed they're selling very well right now. If you're shopping for a group and need clarification on the local brands, variety packs can make the process painless. People are more apt to try a new beer when presented as a variety pack.
Variety packs or mixed packs, which became popular in the early stages of the craft beer boom, seem to be coming back. Variety packs performed better than beer off-premise sales in both 2020 and 2021, according to Nielsen IQ. And variety packs have been important for some breweries. The seasonal variety packs from Minnesota's Surly Brewing Co., according to Bill Manley, vice president of beer development, are the company's second best-selling package behind the Furious IPA.
The brewers' targeted marketing campaigns have recently boosted sales of the mixed packs. According to Mikey O'Brien, beer manager at High Spirits Liquors in Providence, Rhode Island, which stocks about two dozen variety packs with prices ranging from $16 to $20, canned variety packs have replaced bottles (we talked about advantages of aluminum can over bottles here). He continues by saying that style-specific variety packs, like IPA packs, have also been extremely successful.
Variety packs that include a limited-edition brew have proven to be effective sales strategies, according to retailers and brewers. According to Aaron Baker, senior marketing manager at Oskar Blues Brewery, which frequently includes exclusives in its mixed packs, " when it comes to variety packs, consumers are of two minds." They prefer familiar beers, but they also want to try new ones. It's fun to introduce new, inventive beers in this way because including an "Easter egg" in the package gives it a little boost in interest.
In addition to its flagfish Furious IPA, Surly Brewing Co. offers exclusive beers in various packs like Hop Stop, including Neon Pixels, Blast Beat, and Idol Worship.
Surly Brewing Co. includes exclusive brews in various packs like Hop Stop, including Neon Pixels, Blast Beat, Idol Worship, and its flagfish Furious IPA.
Manley from Surly, which offers a variety of packs with exclusive brews, concurs. He cites brands like Grindcore espresso milk stout, included in the brewery's Mixed Messages variety pack last year, as examples of how "the exclusivity can lead to consumer anticipation." According to Drew Bolinger, manager of the beer department at Macadoodles liquor store in Pineville, Missouri, customers now seek out individual packages of some variety pack exclusive beers.
Another thing that makes beer shoppers halt in their tracks is the unexpected mixed-pack collections. The tiki-themed Canspiracy variety pack, which featured both beers and hard seltzers from the Colorado brewery, was introduced by Oskar Blues last year. Baker says, "At Oskar Blues, we're constantly looking to push the boundaries with innovative packaging ideas." The company's most recent variety pack, The Works, includes a mix of "crushable" beers and more potent imperial IPAs. The 24 Craft Beers of Cheer, a case pack of uncommon beers in 13 different styles from seven of Anheuser-Busch InBev's craft breweries, was launched last year. Andy Thomas, president of A-B InBev's Brewers Collective, says that the company received a lot of positive feedback on social media.
Variety packs are excellent choices for consumers when buying beer for parties and other gatherings because they also allow consumers to try new beers, according to Manley. According to a Surly executive, "for retailers, a single SKU with several varieties is a great way to expand their beer variety. The mixed packs, on the other hand, can occupy valuable space in the beer section. The biggest problem with mixed packs, is space, according to Sisco Larson, general manager at Joe's Wine & Liquor in Nashville. He says it can be challenging to add a variety pack if you're already selling four brand SKUs. "But if it sells, it's worth it,"
Variety packs are anticipated to continue to be cutting-edge options for beer shoppers by Larson and other retailers. Instead of purchasing one case of the same beer, they could purchase two variety packs, he suggests. "Choosing that could be simple."
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