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.)
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.
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?