Mountain Man Brewing Company

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Running Head: MOUNTAIN MAN

Mountain Man Brewing Company Case

The purpose of this case study is to explore the implications for expanding the products offered by Mountain Man Brewing Company (MMBC) from one product, Mountain Man Lager, to adding a Light version of the beer. This paper will evaluate the following: 1.The positioning statement of MMBC; including what has made MMBC successful and how MMBC distinguishes itself from competitors. I will argue that quality and authentic West Virginia family recipe created a brand that differentiates the lager from competitors. 2.How these factors enabled MMBC to create such a strong brand; and why, despite its strong brand, MMBC was experiencing a decline in 2005. I will show that the decline is due to changes in beer drinking patterns, markets, and demographics in the region as well as the U.S. in general. 3.An evaluation of whether or not to launch Mountain Man Light. I will explore the pros and cons of creating a light version of the brew and other strategic options for growth if this brand extension is not launched or if the launch is unsuccessful. I will demonstrate that launching a light beer product shows promise for improved profit through 2010, but that another strategy should be under development during that time frame if MMBC wants to remain competitive for the long term. Mountain Man Brewing Company’s Positioning in the East Central Market According to Alvin J. Silk, a positioning statement is designed to define who are a company’s customers, what set of needs does the product fulfill, and why is the product the best one to fill those needs (2006, p. 90). I found this question challenging because a positioning statement should define “the place the firm wishes to occupy in its’ target customers’ minds” (Silk, 2006, p. 90). In the case of MMBC, the definition of the target customer was under discussion. For purposes of the first question, I developed the following positioning statement based on what I believe was the historical perspective of MMBC. Mountain Man Brewing Company produces Mountain Man Lager; the most authentic regional beer for working class East Central Americans, among all premium domestic beers, because of its distinctive quality, bitter flavor, slightly higher than average alcohol content and competitive price (Abelli, 2007, pp. 2-3). This positioning statement would help MMBC to target its product toward the blue collar worker in the East Central region. While not specifically stated in the case, I believe Mountain Man Lager met the following needs of this target audience: a need to feel toughness, pride in an East Central quality product, and an affordable price. MMBC’s strategic focus on this target audience helped it to be successful in the highly competitive market for premium beers, even when other local brewers went out of business. Their success was due to a loyal customer base, high brand recognition and support, and a product with high perceived quality. The sole brand loyalty rate for Mountain Man Lager was 53% which was higher than the rates of competitive products such as Budweiser at 42%, and Bud Light at 36% (Abelli, 2007, p. 5). The case states that the Mountain Man brand was as recognizable as Chevrolet and John Deere among working-class males in the East Central region (Abelli, 2007, p. 2). The quality of the brew was defined mostly by the distinctive flavor and slightly higher than average alcohol content that set Mountain Man Lager apart from its competitors (Abelli, 2007, p.3). The beer is distinguishable from competitors because of the brand recognition as West Virginia’s beer. The following unique traits further helped differentiate the brand: Independent, family owned business; Authentic West Virginia old family brew recipe; Quality, including a distinctive bitter flavor with slightly higher alcohol content; Their own small sales force pushed the sales at...