BONUS CONTENT: Mining the Beer Cave

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BONUS CONTENT: Mining the Beer Cave

By Angela Hanson, Convenience Store News - 02/26/2015

NATIONAL REPORT — Convenience stores remain a destination for beer purchases, but that doesn't mean retailers can achieve maximum sales in the category without effort. Supplier experts shared with CSNews Online some adjustments that could help retailers get the best results.

One key to proper management of the beer category is thinking big in terms of available supply and range of product. It can be difficult to achieve both, particularly in smaller stores with less storage space.

"It’s important for retailers to use a balanced approach across the beer category when merchandising their beer vaults," said Tim Gossett, vice president, national retail sales — category leadership at Anheuser-Busch. "Balancing assortment and days of supply are critical to success, and getting this ratio correct helps ensure optimal revenue delivery for the category."

The optimal assortment is a minimum of five beer doors with 110 items, according to Gossett, who suggests c-stores capitalize on the rising popularity of single-serves by implementing two for $2 promotions where appropriate.

Some suppliers also believe daypart makes more of a difference to beer category sales than many might think. The difference can be seen in package size more than product type.

"Multipacks and singles operate differently depending on the day of the week and time of day," Gossett said. "Understanding these nuances will uncover [openings] to capitalize on revenue opportunities and differentiate from the competition."

Also of importance is keeping an eye on what specific types of alcoholic beverages are likely to be the next big thing. "We believe the cider category will continue to explode," said Nick Lake, senior director of category development for Heineken USA, citing that cider growth in c-stores has more than doubled since 2013 to more than $110 million in sales last year.

Lake noted that new product introductions are likely to continue accelerating in 2015. This makes the process of selecting a product assortment more challenging and increases the importance of examining data and consumer attitudes when managing the beer category.

Editor’s note: This Bonus Content story is an add-on to the Convenience Store News Guide to Category Management, published in February. A digital edition can be accessed by clicking here.