Why do we prefer Heineken Becks

Insights

Germans have been drinking less beer for years. Because sales are falling, the breweries are advertising more and more. And what does Augustiner-Bräu Wagner KG do? Hardly invested in advertising. And still sells more than ever before.

The Augustiner is a cult brand, precisely because it does a lot differently than its competition:

  • Many Munich breweries were already bought up in the 80s - only Augustiner, apart from a few exceptions, has remained independent of the major global corporations such as Anheuser-Busch to this day.
  • In the 90s, all beer brands moved with their advertising on television, such as Krombacher, Warsteiner and Bitburger. Except Augustinians. The brewery remains down-to-earth and eludes the broad center.
  • Everyone wants to expand on the world market - only Augustiner in Münchner Landsberger Strasse does not show any obvious ambitions here.
  • Actually, beer - with the exception of major international brands like Becks, Heineken and the television beers of the 90s - is preferably drunk in their own region. Only Augustiner flourishes outside of Munich. And that even in trendy bars in Berlin.
  • Other beers lose themselves in new beers, IPAs and new labels - but Augustiner remains true to its appearance.

What are the success factors of Augustiner beer? And why is it that his strength and desire are constantly increasing? After a little research, I found the cause: the beer brand - whether consciously or unconsciously - copied a lot from the luxury brands:

1. Augustinians love secrecy

Without a doubt, Augustiner - although an FMCG brand for regular consumption - is wrapped in mysteries. It exudes an aura of inviolability. There is little information, interviews are a rarity. Advertisement is not shown. The output is not clearly communicated by Augustiner himself, an industry journal spoke of over 1.63 hectoliters for 2018. That would make Augustiner the eleventh largest brewery in Germany, the evening newspaper calculates.

Augustiner takes a stricter approach than large luxury brands such as Hermés, Chanel and LV, which are not exactly characterized by proximity. Or Rolex: The watch brand also celebrates silence - but we know that Rolex produces a little over 800,000 watches a year.

2nd Augustinian indulges in attention to detail: 1328

The license plates of the company car, as we know it from Adidas, begin with M - AU (for Augustiner). And the numbers of the service cell phones begin with 1328. This number is a specific stylistic feature, because this year, almost 700 years ago, the Augustinian monks in Munich started brewing beer.

The rule is: the more luxurious a brand, the more stylish its appearance must be. As a beverage brand for regular consumption, Augustiner fulfills an above-average number of stylistic categories that express the value of the brand:

  • The brand's logo with the initials J.W. for Johann Wagner (founder's son)
  • The label of the "Lager Hell" with the grinning monk
  • The immediately recognizable blue beer crates
  • The typical font
  • The specific stylistic feature 1328

3. Augustiner is more exclusive than the P1

"If you get bigger, you can also become more vulnerable," the Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted the former Augustiner boss Ferdinand Schmid in one of his rare portraits. The "last beer baron in Munich" (as the evening paper paid tribute to him) - died in 2013. The Brand continues to exercise restraint, in keeping with his own interests. It stays in the niche and does not act out of greed. Where else can you get it today?

Augustiner pays close attention to who represents them. Anyone who is accepted into this select group has to bow to conditions; Augustiner sets the tone here. The catering establishments are strictly monitored. Your way of cleaning glasses is instructed, the dispensing systems are meticulously installed, the tap temperature is observed, the ambience is assessed. The barrel transport is particularly careful. Augustiner leaves nothing to chance.

This is reminiscent of the manufacturer of luxury suitcases Rimowa, which was bought by the LVMH group. After the acquisition, dealers have no choice: Either they provide an appropriate brand environment - with brands like Boss, Bottega Venetta or Gucci - and net sales of 200,000 euros, or they fare like the 300 dealers (out of 500) who have already been terminated .

4. Augustinians discovered slowness

“In the historic barn malt house on the brewery site, special quality is produced. The germinating barley is laid out in large rooms - 40 meters long and ten meters wide - in a thin layer on a special limestone floor and turned every eight hours, "says the website. The brewery takes time and space for its superior product, The raw materials first have to be able to breathe. Other companies that identify themselves using hectoliters literally press their product onto the market.

The production of a Birkin Bag takes up to two weeks, the movement of the Grandmaster Chime 5175 - for the 175th anniversary of Patek Philipp - consists of 1,366 individual parts that are put together with particular patience. Nesmuk knives are made in 50 work steps and require days of blacksmithing.

This shows that time is contrary to the density of production - but it increases the consumer's appreciation for the product.

5. Augustiner stays with his barrels

As always: half a liter of beer in the traditional, bulbous "construction worker bottles". The same label with the blissfully smiling monk. The same 8 common types of beer. Product developers and marketing people at Augustiner could sometimes be bored.

With this clarity, Augustiner fulfills a great longing: stability in our confusing world. Nothing beats the cosiness of Munich, the regional roots are revered. An image that Augustinians tirelessly maintains and recharges over and over again. For example, with the cumbersome but original delivery of the Oktoberfest with traditional wooden barrels. Which, by the way, are a very popular motif with tourists.

The luxury shoemaker Ed Meier uses the energy of the Munich city brand in a similar way. As a former royal Bavarian purveyor to the court, he also relies on the tradition of handicraft. At no point in history did he follow conventions, his website edmeier.de shines with restraint, the logo has remained untouched to this day.

What does that show us for brand management? 3 quick tips:

  • Resist trends if the constitution of your brand allows.
  • Take a clear stance. Stick with it!
  • Show your edge too.