2023 Category Captain for Beer/Malt Beverages: Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch (AB) has been leading the conversation with the industry in terms of consumer insights, evolving occasions and shopper behaviors. Last year was the first full year for its one-of-a-kind collaboration center The Vault, where category teams are designing the future of total alcohol. This past year, AB hosted 15 retailers, with each visit highlighting trends while identifying opportunities for growth like macro space planning, meals programming, hard beverages and category capabilities. AB continues to integrate these insights and recommendations into IGNITE, its retail category strategy, to continuously provide c-store retailers with suggestions on how to effectively grow the alcoholic beverages category.
AB brought new insights and recommendations to retail to help capture growth with the emergence of a fourth category: hard beverages. After polling consumers to define "hard beverages," the company created a category expansion framework to analyze and provide insight into growth trends, white space innovation and merchandising recommendations.
AB also worked with small-format retailers to focus on delivering growth through shelf management excellence, concentrating on merchandising guidelines that balance the need for increased days of supply on top SKUs within the core plus, core and value categories. These merchandising guidelines also include shifting the mix in hard beverages to capture the growth of spirit-based seltzers and cocktails, while reducing the over-allocation within malt seltzers and still supporting top SKUs and the trends within bold flavor and high ABV. These efforts have been supported by investments in several technologies and insights partnerships.