7 Nov 2008

Worse beer = Better business?

Yeah, it sounds like an oximoron, but you might see it differently after you read this little story one of my clients told me the other day.

Radek is from a small town in Vysočina, where the options for going out for dinner or drinks are limited to a couple of hospody with unbreathable atmosphere and where even the newspapers are sticky, or a much more modern place that is more attractive to the younger crowd living there. That is the place Radek like to go.

Some months ago the onwer, a friend of my client, decided to change his beer supplier, leaving Pilsner Urquell for Stella Artois and Staropramen. He didn't have any issue with PU, but Pivovary Praha, the local minion of InBev, offered him to put new taps, a lit sign at the door and other marketing goodies (it might be that they also offered to pay for new lights for the bar, but I can't remember for sure). It was hard to resist.

Since the change, business has improved considerably. Not because more people are coming, nor because patrons are drinking more beer than before. Actually, it is quite the opposite, they are drinking much less, they don't like the new offer (what a surprise!) and instead they are drinking more cocktails, sprirts and wine, which are more profitable than pints. The owner couldn't be happier.

This has made me wonder if that isn't the reason why so many places in Prague, where people don't go for the beer (i.e. poshmodern cafés, pizzerias, ethnic restaurants, etc), stock Stella Artois (or Heineken, who seem to have adopted the same distribution strategy that worked so well for Stella a few years back). It can also be that most of the owners of this kind of places know very little about beer and many care even less.

Na Zdraví!

PS: I hope the above has not given anyone any funny ideas...

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

2 comments:

  1. I must admit that I thought this would be about the new addition to the Gamcrap brand - an 11 degree beer.

    From my experience in Prague I would say that very few drinkers care about their beer that much, so there is little incentive for the pub owners to give much of a fig either.

    There are though the occassional twinkle of light, such as last Saturday when one of my mates packed in the Gamcrap at Zlata Hvezda to pay extra for the PU - because "at least it tastes like beer".

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  2. I think drinkers do care, the wrong way, maybe, but care they do. There are many out there that won't drink anything other than the holy trinity of České Pivo, Pilsner Uquell, Gambáč & Kozel tmavé.
    That is why Stella didn't start selling at hospody, they knew people would not drink it, instead they went for the kind of places I mentioned above, positioning that swill as something new and modern. With quite a bit of sucess, unfortunately.

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