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Amid Segment Woes, Large Cos Keep Launching New FMBs & Ramping Up Investments

Even as volatile FMB segment takin’ tuff hit to start year and several sizable brand families suffering, large cos continue to launch new brands and ramp up mktg spend within category.  Just in the last couple weeks, AB announced natl TV campaign for Ritas specifically targeting women, Best Damn natl TV campaign, new Cream Soda flavor and Best Damn Tea launch in test mkts. MC officially launched Henry’s Hard Sparkling and plans to give it “robust”  national marketing campaign, including stations like TBS, Food Network, Bravo, USA, ESPN and Comedy Central among others, per release.  Finally, Pabst officially launched “Not Your Mom’s Flavored Brews,” under Small Town umbrella.  Flavors include Not Your Mom’s Apple Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb and Iced Tea flavors available in 6pks of 12oz bottles at $10.99 suggested retail and 24oz single cans of Iced Tea for $2.49.  Then too, several new flavor variants introduced this yr under AB’s Rita family and MC’s adding new Redd’s flavors, reviving Zima and testing Zumbida.

FMBs Down in Nielsen  FMB volume down 4.4%, $$ down 5.5% yr-to-date thru Feb 25 in Nielsen all-outlet as avg prices down 35 cents, 1% per case.  AB’s Ritas down low-double-digits to start out 2017 in scans, following 2 yrs of declines.  Similarly, MC’s Redd’s down low-double-digits to start year after declining in 2016 for first time since launched.  And while each adding new flavors this year, Not Your Father’s franchise down 60% YTD and Henry’s sodas down nearly 50% for latest 4 wks, near 30% YTD in Nielsen data thru Feb 25.  Best Damn family down 50% plus thru Feb 19 in IRI multi-outlet + convenience data.   Can new innovations and heavier ad spends shore things up for AB, MC and Pabst FMBs this yr?

Meanwhile, Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co still rolling (+11% YTD) and Boston Beer’s Twisted Tea (+17%) continues to shine, and Diageo’s Smirnoff brand family comin’ off a solid growth year, tho still well off its peak.  NAB’s Seagram’s Escape portfolio and alc seltzers (both counted separately from beer sales in scans) continue to grow, but currently too small to curb category trend.  Lots of puts and takes  per usual in this category.  If trends continue, this will be first time FMBs decline in many years.   Last yr, FMBs got 7.5 share of Nielsen $$ and 5.2 share of volume.  This yr segment shed 0.5 share of  $$ and 0.2 share of volume to 6.7 and 4.7 respectively thru Feb 25.

Publishing Info

  • Year: 2017
  • Volume: 19
  • Issue #: 44
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