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Beer Wars Update: The Corn Wars Continue And Peroni Makes Moves With A New Ad Campaign

April 4, 2019 Sarah Cavill

beer wars kona brewing co

Happy New Beer's Eve! In honor of this auspicious holiday celebrating the end of prohibition, we honor beers and the clever advertising campaigns that keep us comfortably in the cups. The corn wars of Super Bowl LIII served as a reminder that advertising beer wars are a thing. Miller Lite and Bud Lite continue to chirp away at one another in a series of not-so-passive aggressive spots, while Kona and Peroni have launched new campaigns.

Despite some slowdown in the growth of the craft beer sector, it still amassed sales totaling $2.44 billion in the first 40 weeks of 2018. Overall 2018 beer sales in the U.S. were more than $35 billion, with the biggest growth in dollar sales happening in domestic super premiums (15.2% YOY increase in sales), flavored malt beverages (10.7%) and cider (10.1%). Bud Light remains on top as America’s best-selling beer with a market share of more than 15%, and Anheuser-Busch posted 2018 global revenue of $54.6 billion. Bottoms up!

Miller Lite And Bud Light Face Off In The Dilly Dilly Universe

After Bud Light chose to provoke competitors in several Super Bowl ads by calling out their use of corn syrup – kicking off the corn wars – Miller Lite rolled out a response just in time for March Madness. By co-opting the Game of Thrones vibe Bud Light created with their knights-and-ale Dilly Dilly commercials in 2017 (and again during the Super Bowl ads), Miller Lite created equally effective spots called “Snow” and “Aftermath.” (Actors dressed in medieval costumes who appear to be filming a Bud Light commercial choose Miller Lite when they take a break.) The ads have a naturalistic, organic feel that is very dissimilar to the cheeky tone of the Bud Light commercials. Bud Light created a response to Miller Lite, guaranteeing that the corn wars will continue.

Coors Light Goes Positive By Offering Free Beers

beer wars coors light

“When they bring hate, we will literally bring light,” said Ryan Reis, Vice President of Coors’ brands. “The more Bud Light talks, the more we refresh.” Coors Light, in response to the heat they’re getting from Bud Light, chose to focus on bringing their beer to the people. Enter “The Coors Light,” a smart tap which detects when Bud Light talks smack about Coors Light on social media or broadcast and lights up. Every time the tap lights up customers at the bar get a free round of beers. The promotion caps at two beers per customer and takes place in select cities, including NY, Philly, Dallas, Omaha and Las Vegas. The hashtag #refreshtheconversation accompanies the campaign on social media.

Craft Brew Alliance Launches Its First National Campaign For Their Kona Brand Beers

Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) created a bevy of commercials promoting their top-selling Kona Brewing brand, which accounts for 63% of CBA’s total production. The three cheerful spots take place at the beach in Hawaii and get straight to the relax-and-drink-beer point of the brand. The 30-second commercials aired during the Elite Eight March Madness games across three networks.

Peroni Looks To Increase Their Market Share As The Fastest-Growing European Import

beer wars peroni

During awards season, Peroni orchestrated a big campaign push, which included a partnership with Vanity Fair and a series of short teaser commercials that aired on Twitter in January and February. After experiencing a growth of 14.2% in 2018, Peroni is aiming to triple its customer base by doubling their marketing investment in 2019. March saw the best-selling Italian lager issue a new package design and release two commercials for their new “Birra Beautifully” campaign, which are airing on TV and across social. A print campaign and further partnerships for Peroni are also on tap.

“Everyone is excited about the potential for [Peroni], and people believe in it. It’s all hands on deck as we take it to the next level,” says Katie Feldman, Marketing Manager for Peroni and other MillerCoors prestige import brands.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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