retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There was a great piece in Advertising Age the other day about one of my favorite subjects.

Beer.

The article was about research done by Mindset Media about how the kind of beer one drinks “can be as telling about your personality as what kind of clothing you wear or the car that you drive. And if you don't drink suds at all, or change brands depending on your mood -- well, that says something too.”

Some of the conclusions:

• “People who prefer domestic beers over craft beers or imports are generally middle of the road in their politics. They're not nearly as conservative as people who don't drink beer at all, but not as liberal as people who prefer more exotic beer.”

• “People who drink a broad portfolio of beers are different than one-brand drinkers as well. Those ‘indifferent’ beer drinkers are more open-minded and emotional people who enjoy a variety of life experiences.”

• Budweiser drinkers “are sensible, grounded and practical. They are the polar opposite of daydreamers and don't easily get carried away. These beer drinkers also don't like authority - can anyone say union? - and are emotionally steady people who live in the here and now. However, what may be a bit surprising is that people who prefer Bud can also be very spontaneous and tend not to do much advance planning. Budweiser drinkers are 42% more likely to drive a truck than the average person, 68% more likely to choose a credit card with flexible payment terms and 42% more likely to use breath-freshening strips every day.”

• “Bud Light drinkers profile as lacking in carefulness. They are grounded like their Bud brethren, but respect authority. Bud Lighters can also have frat boy-like personalities, particularly when it comes to personal risk-taking. In regard to others, these good-time guys and gals are accepting of most everyone and generally easy to get along with. Bud Light drinkers are also 48% more likely than the average person to play the lottery every day and 34% more likely to never buy organic products.”

• “Michelob Ultra drinkers rate high in superiority; that is, they think highly of themselves and can be a little bit conceited. They care what other people think about them and want to appear perfect. They also tend to be take-charge types with strong opinions, and can even be confrontational. Michelob Ultra drinkers are 43% more likely than the average person to consider sustainability a priority, and 34% more likely to buy life insurance.”

• Corona drinkers “are busy and energetic people who are also extremely extroverted. They're people persons who seek out the company of others whether in a group or just one-to-one. Corona drinkers do more and see more people in one day than most people see in a week. But the life-of-the-party Corona drinkers also have an altruistic side; they care deeply about other people and see themselves as giving and warm. Corona drinkers are 91% more likely than average to buy recycled products and 38% more likely to own three or more flat-screen TVs.”

• Blue Moon drinkers are described as “socially liberal and usually quite willing to go against convention. They really hate moral authorities, and believe children should be exposed to moral dilemmas and allowed to come to their own conclusions. They can also be sarcastic and snide in order to get a point across. People who drink Blue Moon beer are 105% more likely than the average person to drive hybrid cars, 77% more likely to own Apple Mac laptops, 65% more likely to purchase five pairs or more of sneakers every year, and 32% more likely to not be registered voters.”

• Craft beer drinkers are “more likely to spend time thinking about beer rather than work. They are more open-minded than most people, seek out interesting and varied experiences and are intellectually curious. Craft-beer drinkers also skew as having a lower sense of responsibility they don't stress about missed deadlines and tend to be happy-go-lucky about life. Craft-beer lovers are 153% more likely to always buy organic, 52% more likely to be fans of the show ‘The Office’ and 36% more likely to be the ones to choose the movie they are going to see at the theater.”

• And people who don’t drink beer? Well, according to Mindset Media, “people who refuse to drink beer at all don't like to loosen up very much. They are socially conservative and see many issues as black and white. Teetotalers honor tradition and authority and prefer a less-hectic social life. People who turn down beer are 50% more likely to call themselves Republican, and are 30% more likely to never buy organic product.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I first saw this story I was a little skeptical. It isn’t any fun to think that one can be easily classified, and a lot more fun to think that one would confound the so-called experts.

But having read the entire Advertising Age story, I have to concede that the folks at Mindset Media are onto something here. I know my own beer drinking habits, and while I don’t fit neatly into any one specific category, much of what they say about my beer preferences - and dislikes - pretty much hits the nail on the head. Not sure if you feel the same way, but there it is.

Though as the great Robert B. Parker once wrote, “The worst beer I ever had was wonderful.”




While in Las Vegas this week - Michael Sansolo and I were there speaking to the California Grocers Association (CGA), which runs a first-class conference - I had a chance to try a place I’d never heard of before: NobHill Tavern, which is located in the MGM Grand. While I’ve probably passed it dozens of times over the years, I only learned of its existence because owner Michael Mina was profiled in the current issue of Wine Spectator.

I only had time for a quick nosh, so I sat at the bar and enjoyed the best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve ever eaten - bar none. They were small in size but huge in flavor - just spicy enough to bring tears to my eyes. I washed them down with one of the house wines - the Qupe Syrah Mina Cuvee from Santa Barbara, which was recommended by Jordan, the bartender...and it was perfect.

Next time...dinner. Because I can only imagine how wonderful that will be.




One of the ongoing debates here on MNB usually crops up when I say that retail models built around the DVD - whether it is Blockbuster, Redbox or an in-store video department - are doomed to obsolescence since people soon will be downloading movies rather than purchasing them in any kind of physical format.

A couple more indicators have popped up that reinforce this notion.

Bet Buy announced that it is creating an on-demand video download service that it hopes will grow to the point where it will be available on virtually every piece of appropriate equipment that you buy from it.

Apple is said to be negotiating with the major television networks to create a subscription component in its iTunes store that would allow people to pay one monthly fee and be able to download a broad range of network offerings - which is one step closer to making traditional network programming schedules irrelevant since people will be even more empowered to watch what they want when they want to watch it.

The folks who think that the DVD has any sort of extended life expectancy are the same folks who think that newspapers are going to stick around simply because they enjoy reading them with their morning cup of coffee. It’d be pretty to think so, but that’s old world thinking. (Maybe they are still listening to music on their eight-tracks...?)

And the challenge to retailers in almost every venue is how they are going to communicate and sell to people who don’t play by traditional rules.

The challenge to all of us is to keep thinking young, no matter how old we get.




Which allows me to smoothly segue into a big “thank you” to all of you who wrote to wish me a happy birthday on Wednesday. I was genuinely touched - and it meant a lot since I was 3,000 miles from home when I got halfway to 110. Michael Sansolo and I were out west doing a couple of speeches together this week, so it was nice to get all that email.

Which reminds me...

A big shout out to MNB user Wendy Morton, who recommended that on Wednesday night Michael should take me out to a Mexican restaurant in Palm Desert, California, called Armando’s - which was everything she said it was. (I love restaurants that are small enough that the guy whose name is on the front door is also the guy standing at the front door...and Armando was there himself, making both regulars and first-timers feel at home.)

The nachos were incredible. The chicken enchiladas and seafood fajitas were enormously flavorful. And the margaritas...well, the intensity of the margaritas may explain why on Thursday, for a brief period of time, MNB had Caribou Coffee showing a third quarter profit of $654 million rather than $654,000.

A great night. A great day. Thanks to all of you for being a part of it.




I keep getting email from folks who are as big fans of “Castle” as I am, so I’m thinking that the Monday night series on ABC must be picking up steam. If you haven’t seen it, check “Castle” out - it stars Nathan Fillion as a mystery writer who is shadowing a NYC detective (the gorgeous Stana Katic) as he researches a new series of novels. The concept isn’t new - shows ranging from the long-running “Murder, She Wrote” to the short-lived “The Cosby Mysteries” have used the notion that a mystery writer can help the real cops solve crimes. But “Castle” has a playful element that distinguishes it, it is a lot better written than much of what is on TV, plus the leads are a helluva lot sexier than Angela Lansbury.




Also promising - the new version of “V,” which premiered this week. There were at least a couple of good twists just in the first hour that make me think that this alien invasion series could be the real deal.




Just two more weeks until the remake of “The Prisoner” on AMC. They may screw it up, but as a huge devotee of the original Patrick McGoohan series, from the seventies, I’ll certainly be watching to find out.




That’s it for this week. Until Monday....be seeing you.

Slainte!
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