Retail Merchandising Bubbles Over in Adult Beverage  8/20/2020


Pandemic-driven restaurant closures and limits on dining options have driven massive increases in at-home, “off-premise” consumption of adult beverages. Supermarkets and mass retail operators seeking to capitalized on this surge in demand are allocating tremendous in-store real estate to beer and wine displays.

Adding fuel to this merchandising fire is the sharp reduction in traditional packaged goods’ pre-packed shipper displays being shipped into stores this year. Nature abhors a vacuum, so direct to store distributors are given more latitude in secondary promotional placements. It is not unusual to see 30 to 40 separate off-shelf placements of adult beverages in a single grocery store.

With so much merchandising space up for grabs, the challenge may not be getting a few extra cases on the sales floor, but how to stand out from the crowd and win with shoppers. Over the past several months, there have been some interesting, eye-catching merchandising executions observed at retail. Below are some examples, for your consideration. As you can see, both the Campo Viejo chiminea and the Matua lifeguard chair are interruptive, unusual and are brand-relevant, and the case-stack display is enhanced with branded base-wrap and tall merchandising elements that break the shoppers’ sightline. 


 


While floor stands for beverages are not unusual, this execution from Newport Beach, CA-based Chihuahua Cerveza is fun and engaging.  The side-panel brand graphic is bold, and the header element is humorous and memorable. 

Another best in class retail execution was recently observed in Kroger for Stella Artois. This visually appealing 3D motor boat element, reminiscent of a classic teak Riva Aquarama, is fun and eye-catching. 

 

 

 


WHO’S WINNING?

The “Seltzer Tsunami” continues like an unending wave flooding the retail landscape this summer. The sales growth in Flavored Malt Beverages has been epic since the start of the pandemic. Leading the way are White Claw and Truly with about three-quarters of the market, according to Nielsen, with Bud Light Seltzer, Corona Seltzer and Smirnoff combining to claim just under 20%. 

Not surprising, then, these brands have been crushing it at retail. 


 


And the Rosé Revolution rolls on at retail! Between celebrity endorsements and new brands flowing into the marketplace, rosé wines are gaining unprecedented placement in the retail landscape. 

According to an article in Wine Enthusiast, Nielsen reports that rosé sales in the U.S. grew 40% from 2018 to 2019. And Wine.com claims to carry over 650 “pink wine products” with year over year sales growth of over 350%! 


The bigger, the better, apparently! Sales of the larger 1.5L bottles and 3L boxes of wine are growing, as is their share of the retail merchandising space allocated to them. 

This floor stand for Bay Bridge Wineries has been widely observed in Kroger stores. It is on wheels making it easy to place and cross-merchandise. 



SUMMARY 
The opportunity is huge for adult beverage companies to capitalize on widely available merchandising space at retail today – particularly in supermarkets and mass merchants. It is unknown when traditional foods and household product brands will ramp-up their merchandising display spending, or if store operators will ever bring them back in historic levels. But until then, it is a landgrab for wine and beer distributors. 

The biggest challenge for wine and beer/FMB/cider brands is how to stand out in the crowd and connect with shoppers in-store. The marketplace is witnessing some exciting creativity, and it appears that store managers are willing to showcase innovative merchandising to engage and entertain shoppers. 

 

Will Phillips

Founder & CEO
The Phillips Consulting Alliance

Will Phillips is the founder/CEO of The Phillips Consulting Alliance, a collaboration of entrepreneurial business leaders to help organizations win in the next generation of retail. You can follow Will on LinkedIn where he publishes “Will’s Walkabout” – a contextual view of what is happening in retail today.

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