The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) today released their latest findings for a variety of products, and beer again continued to drop. I should point out, however, that the ACSI tracks only the big brands. As far as I can tell, they do not track any craft brewers. Since they refer to “Corona, Heineken, and Samuel Adams” all as “smaller brands,” I feel confident that very few, if any, craft breweries are on their radar. As a result, these findings — while interesting — are only relevant for the big picture and don’t reflect the continuing gains and positive growth in the craft sector.
From the press release:
Beverages: Anheuser-Busch Tanks
Beer drinker satisfaction falls from its all-time high in 2009 by 2.4% to 82, driven by a sharp decline for Anheuser-Busch products. Last year, shortly after its acquisition by Belgian InBev, Anheuser-Busch recorded its best ACSI score ever and captured the industry lead. Now that gain evaporates, as the company drops 4% to an ACSI score of 82. Sales of the Budweiser brand fell by nearly 10% over the past year, the largest decline on record, as younger drinkers have increasingly turned to microbrews and low-calorie products. A-B’s weakness is Miller’s gain. Without improving, Miller claims the top ACSI spot among brewers, unchanged at 83. Molson Coors also remains unchanged, stalled at the bottom of the industry at 81.
And here’s additional analysis from a second release:
Customer satisfaction with beer fell from its all-time high in 2009 by 2.4% to 82, driven by a sharp decline for Anheuser-Busch products. The rest of the measured brewers—Miller, Molson Coors, and the aggregate of smaller brands such as Corona, Heineken, and Samuel Adams—held to the same scores received one year ago.
In 2009, a year after its acquisition by Belgian InBev, Anheuser-Busch advanced to its best ACSI score ever and captured the industry lead at a record 84. In 2010, the gain has evaporated as the company lost 4% and slid to 82. The number-one seller of beer in the United States also has struggled with sales of its Budweiser brand. Sales of the brand fell by nearly 10% last year, the largest decline on record, as younger drinkers have increasingly turned to microbrews and low-calorie products.
Miller is a beneficiary of A-B’s plunge. Miller assumes the industry lead in customer satisfaction by standing still at an ACSI score of 83, sharing the top spot with the aggregate of smaller brands (also unchanged). A year ago, Molson Coors slumped to the bottom of the industry. The company is stalled there for a second year at an unchanged score of 81. Value for money remains a challenge, as consumers are increasingly price sensitive and Molson Coors brands tend to be higher priced than many of its competitors’ brands.