Kahn Research Inc. Response:  

At the time, Kahn was employed as Consumer Insights Director for Coors Brewing.  In this role, supporting the Killian’s brand, I developed a two-pronged research design to address the issues.   Using ethnography, we went where the beer drinkers go – bars with our brand and others on tap.  We talked to them, ordered them a beer, and let them experience Killian’s on tap.  Then we utilized focus groups to have a more in-depth discussion and exploration around what gets them interested in a beer at a bar, and the impact and experiences around various marketing approaches and promotions.  

We identified several key insights from these specialty beer drinkers.  

  • Most tended to order beer on tap that had a ritual associated with it (cascading Guinness, special glassware, served with an orange or lime slice, etc.)  

  • While many were aware of Killian’s, they weren’t truly familiar with it, and didn’t have expectations of taste.  They often assumed it was a heavy beer, or a more bitter taste.  Interestingly, we learned they didn’t associate the red color with the beer as strongly as we had believed (despite it being present in the name).  Nor did the red associate a smoother drinker lager, which is the taste profile of the product.

The Result:

The simple insight of the importance of the on-premise pour experience, coupled with providing specialty beer drinkers a way to see and experience the beer, was the key.  The resulting recommendation to the brand team was to develop an on-premise promotion strategy that focused on having specialty beer drinkers see the rich color of the beer, and have a chance to sample the flavor.   Glassware that reinforced the Irish beer heritage coupled with more focus on the tap ‘pour’ provided a simple ritual.  The strategy was successful, leading to increased on-premise sales from existing taps for Killian’s, as well as increased tap placements.

Helping Business Understand Customer Needs

If They See It, They Will Come: Stimulating Sales Through an On-Premise Insight-Driven Strategy

The Challenge:

A specialty beer brewed by one of the top US Brewers was experiencing lower sales on tap versus other similar specialty products.  Several competitors had a unique feature associated with the glassware, the ‘pour”, or other on-premise components that generated increased sales for these brands.  Our beer, an authentic Irish lager with a deep amber color was underperforming on-premise given the number of taps.  To avoid losing taps, the team turned to research to uncover on-premise consumer insights that could lead to increased sales.  How do we get beer drinkers in a bar to order OUR Irish lager?