November 1, 2012
“My dad drank Mountain Man just like my granddad did. They both felt it was as good a beer as you could get anywhere,” focus group participant.
Mountain Man Brewing Company (MMBC) was founded in 1925 by Guntar Prangel. The company’s chief product is the Mountain Man Lager (MML), created by Mr. Prangel from an old family brew recipe. The beer itself had a slightly bitter taste and above average alcohol content that sets it apart from other beers sold in the region. It is this distinct taste that has leads MMBC to be one of the top selling beer brands in the East Central region of the United States. The company in 2005 was selling more than 520,000 barrels of lager and was generating over $50 million in revenues.
Mountain Man Lager is the epitome of beer made for the working class, blue-collared individual. The primary consumer is over 45, male and in the middle to lower class income range. As this demographic ages, and current trends continue to develop Mountain Man is faced with the choice of developing a light beer product or stay the course. They have had over 80 years to develop a brand name and equity with this region and a new, light product may diminish MML’s brand equity. The U.S. beer market is the largest in the world and has annual sales of over $75 billion. Although the amount of people who consume beer products has diminished (2.3% annually since 2001) it is still a large and competitive market. The beer market is separated into four distinct categories: Major and second-tier domestics, imports and specialty brewers. The following graph shows the amount each has in market share.
As the graph illustrates, major domestic brands like Anheuser Bush, Miller and the Coors Company control a majority of the sales of beer in the region. Their position is strengthened by the amount of financial marketing that can be leveraged and amount of product that can be developed...