Makers of yellow water can tell drinkers to man up and breweries can teach Clydesdales new tricks, but none of the big beer advertisers are going to put an IPA, porter or holiday 12-pack on a Super Bowl screen any time soon.
Boston Beer and its Samuel Adams brand are one of the few craft beer makers that can change all of that. Beer Marketer's Insights estimates that Boston Beer sold 2.4 million barrels of its beers last year, up from 2.26 million in 2010. The company hasn't released its fourth-quarter results yet, but sales are up 8% year-to-date and its share price reached an all-time high of more than $108.50 in December.
So if it's growing, why go up against Big Beer with a Super Bowl ad when Anheuser-Busch InBev has spent $239 million on such ads within the last decade? Because even with the continued growth of craft beer, the segment still makes up only 5% of the overall U.S. beer market. Because of all the craft brewers, only Samuel Adams has had a national campaign before and has the cash to sink into a $3.5 million Super Bowl spot.Perhaps the best reason is that its biggest audience of potential new drinkers -- the more than 78% of beer buyers buying Anheuser-Busch InBev and MolsonCoors (TAP - Get Report) products -- will be enjoying a beer with its Super Bowl viewing. Show that audience a better beer and commercials that actually talk about the product instead of the packaging or pratfalls and there's a chance the beer they buy for the next big game won't come in can-filled cardboard briefcase.