Are there double standards with the way we think of brands in the craft beer industry, compared to other industries? I don’t have the answer, but it has made me think.
The Olympics have been everywhere you look for the past few weeks. I was reading an article the other week about how in previous years there have been a number of stunts pulled by shoe brands like Nike to get a one-up on their competition during the Olympics, pretty clever, but also pretty sneaky.
Anyway, when I was watching the start of the marathon the other day, I was nearly blinded by the hundreds of pairs of yellow shoes on the screen (the Nike Zoom Flyknit Streak ULTD if you are interested). It got me thinking and relating it back to beer (a bad habit of mine), is Nike like the Annheuser Bush of the sneaker industry?
Nike has about a 60%+ share of footwear sales in the USA…that’s almost 2 out of every 3 shoes sold (when you include the Jordan brand, a Nike subsidiary)…that’s massive! Yet, why does a brand like this, or H&M, Levis, Quiksilver or Hurley not receive the backlash that the beer industry seems to give to large brands with equivalent market share? Why do consumers still seek out those massive brands in one part of their life, but not in others? I mean, you couldn’t get a more mass produced footwear item than Nike, right?
Why in beer do we look at large brands in a different way? Why, once they get big, do we turn our back on them, begin to publicly shame them and feel embarrassed to be associated with them? In other industries equivalent brands in terms of market share are worn as a badge of honour? I find it really interesting that there is a bit of a double standard going on here?
I don’t think the Double IPA drinker will necessarily drink a VB, Tooheys New, Miller or Bud Light? But I bet you a double IPA drinker would gladly drink it in the comfort of his Nike Free Run’s, wearing his Ray ban Wayfarers and tapping away on his Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy? Where is the change in mindset occurring with smaller vs bigger brands?
I was talking to a few craft brewery owning mates this week about this. I simply asked them, “if your brewer was a sneaker brand, what would it be”. The reply was Vans and North Face Trail Runners. I fired back with…”aren’t they made by a huge global manufacturer?”. They both told me to f##k off and that there was no relationship between sneakers and beer!
Why do we choose fair trade coffee, organic carrots, or visit farmers markets instead of chain grocery stores, but then choose mass produced fashion lines to clothe ourselves? Do we care more about what we put in our bodies, over what we put on our bodies, or are we hypocrites? Is it okay to only drink micro beers, but wear macro clothing?
Or, is it purely an economic factor? If you think about it from a craft beer perspective, we pay maybe an extra 30% for a pint of craft beer vs macro lager…transpose that to the cost of sneakers and you are talking about paying $210AU for that pair of Nike Zoom Flyknit Streak ULTD mentioned above, as opposed to $160AU. It’s a bit different when you look at it that way…I’d gladly pay $15 for a pint of great beer over $10 for a Low Carb Piss Take, but might think twice about the shoe purchase. We do pay more for goods and services that we care about more, or value more, but it’s easy to do so when the costs are low…maybe that’s what this is all about?
As usual, I am just trying to start a conversation…not looking to solve the issues of the craft beer world, I just like it that people are talking about beer!
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Cheers to Quality Beers!