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Not only have consumers’ beer preference shifted from major brands to craft breweries, their tastes in purchase methods has changed. A survey of consumers finds that a quarter of consumers are willing to buy grocery products online, and more than half are willing to experiment with it in the future. For beer brands, this presents a challenge as no online equivalent to point-of-sale displays exist. Consumers are search driven, and in turn more loyal to brands and repeat purchases. In response, Beer brands have started to experiment with loyalty programs and delivery apps like Drizly and Minibar.

The latter provide beer brands with more advertising space and investment opportunities than traditional e-tailers. Stella Artois, for example, has invested heavily in Minibar and appears in featured products and display ads. Furthermore, this group has greatly increased product availability. Among brands in L2’s 2015 and 2016 Beer Indexes, Minibar and Drizly carried 78% and 89% respectively. In this year’s Index, those numbers jumped to 87% and 93%. Only Walmart has a selection on par with these app, stocking 89% of these brands in 2016.

Certain brands have chosen to invest in their own delivery apps. For example, Bud Light launched The Bud Light Party app in conjunction with their Super Bowl campaign of the same name. The app incentives social sharing, engagement and UGC with a leaderboard and internal points system. The app also offers unique in-app experiences like the ability to create a custom campaign poster using an uploaded picture. However, underinvestment in mobile is evident even among brands that have developed mobile apps: only 57% of current Index brands’ iOS apps were fully functional as of March 2016.

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