Craft beer: marketing strategies to survive the bubble bursting

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Gibney, Kevin
Issue Date
MSc in Marketing
Dublin Business School
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The craft beer industry is one of the most rapidly growing industries in Ireland. Many new companies have established over the last few years. From humble beginnings, craft brewers who had a passion for producing artisanal beers wanted to offer the consumer something more authentic. For decades the Irish beer market was dominated by mostly mainstream brands. The entry of new products became stagnant and craft brewers became the disrupters of the industry. Analysing this rapid growth of new microbreweries, this dissertation looks at the market share of craft beer. It evaluates whether new entrants and current brewing companies will be able to continue to operate. The Irish beer market may have become overly saturated with products. Looking at certain marketing and branding strategies used by established brewing companies, assessments are made on whether new entrants will survive. The thesis explores opinions from industry leaders and new theories are developed. The market growth appears to be slowing and long-standing beer companies with vast resources are not going to yield to this new competition. There are many barriers to getting new products on to the market. Examining the abilities of the brewery owners to operate in this environment, recommendations elaborate that new entrants need to adapt their current ethos. There is a certain culture associated with craft beer, both with the consumers and the microbreweries. They both like to experiment with new styles and flavours but the typical craft beer drinker is not brand loyal. Craft brewers may need to target mainstream brand drinkers and start producing more accessible beers for them. Beers that are not so heavy in flavour and high in alcohol. This is something that many new companies have not been able to achieve.