In my most recent article, I discussed the beer industry’s quest for new products as seen in Beer Blast, Philip Van Munching’s history of the industry in the late 20th Century. Van Munching argues that the industry’s constant introduction of new beer varieties has diluted the value of existing brands, hurting beer companies’ brand image.
However, Beer Blast does not only discuss brand image in the context of new products. Van Munching was the advertising director at Van Munching & Co., the former US importer of Heineken (HEINY) (HINKF). As a result, his book goes into great detail about the image strategies of several major American beer brands, offering insights about both their successes and failures.
Though Van Munching’s book was written in 1997, I feel such insights remain valuable for investors. For example, Beer Blast shows that beer companies are similar to luxury goods companies. Customers often use the brand of beer they drink to define their self image and the image they project to others. In this, they treat beer the way they treat luxury goods such as fashion items, which are similarly used to craft one’s personal image.