The Bavarian Brewing Co.
THE TRANSITION YEARS
(1953 - 1959)
A DECLINE IN SALES REQUIRED CHANGES
Bavarian Brewing Co. went under a sharp sales decline in 1953, producing only 200,000 barrels in that year comparison to more than 300,000 barrels the year before. A major reason for the decline was apprently because the brewery tried to pass on price increases to make up for their increased costs occuring with their operation of two plants. Some of their local competition had larger plants that were built after prohibition that were more efficient and did not need to increase their prices. Another reason for their sales decline, some of the local breweries, and all of the national breweries, had brands they could discount, often with aggressive pricing. As a result, the price increases that Bavarian tried to pass on to their customers significantly impacted their sales. In addition, their advertising hadn't changed for several years.
To counter their sales and production decline, Bavarian decided they needed to enlarge and modernize their main facility (acquiring an adjacent property to do so), dispose of thier plant 2 (the former Heidelberg Brewery), dispose of their distribution facility in Cincinnati and expand their relationships with independent distributors. These actions required a couple of years to implement. They also realized they needed to modify their advertising, and started to do so rather quickly in 1953.
Bavarian had used "A Man's Beer" slogan since 1946. However, times were changing and besides being more politically correct, Bavarian realized they needed to expand their market to women. Even though there was a relatively minor proportion of women that consumed beer compared to men, that segment was increasing. More importantly, it was found that the number of women purchasing beer was becoming more significant. They were more frequently purchasing beer for their husbands and for parties. Consequently, Bavarian introduced a "...And Hers Too!" slogan in 1953. Still, it was tagged along with "...A Man's Beer..." for a couple of years. However, beginning around 1955 the theme for Bavarian was completely changed to "Flavor... at its finest!" (Please see Bavarian Ads: 1946-1957.)
BAVARIAN BREWING CO. SUES ANHEUSER-BUSCH
In a David vs. Goliath Battle
A new discount brand that Anheuser-Busch has started to release in the early 1950's was Bush Bavarian. Along with the pressure Bavarian was feeling on pricing and from it competition, having to compete with a beer from a major brewe rthat was using "Bavarian" in its name alarmed Bavarian Brewing Co. Before this new brand was rolled out into Bavarian's Tri-State area (Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana), an effort was made to try to prohibit Anheuser- Busch from using Bavarian in the name of this new beer. Bavarian Brewing Co. did so by filing a lawsuit against this national brewer in xxxxxxxxxxxxx, seeking exclusive use of the "Bavarian" beer name and punitive damages for alleged unfair marketing practices by Anheuser-Busch. Such practices by the national brewers often involved additional discounts to both distributors and customers for carrying and promoting their beer over local beers. This litigation was pitted as "David vs. Goliath" in the local papers.
The case was heard in Hamilton County, OH court in xxxxxxx. A final verdict was reached in xxxxxx. It did not provide exclusive use of the term "Bavarian" for Bavarian Brewing Co. and it didn't provide for any punitive damages. However, in a partial win for Bavarian Brewing Co., Anheuser-Busch was prohibited from selling Busch Bavarian in Bavarian Brewing Co.'s Tri-State market area. At least Bavarian's Beer could be sold without having another major competitor to worry about, which would be using a similar name to their own.
Still, Bavarian new that they would continue to face challenges from national brewers, beside those locally. Consolidation had been occurring in the brewing industry for years. One Bavarian could do is to try to make their beer stand out more from others. A year after this verdict, the brewer engaged a couple New York advertising and packing companies. Still, they knew that a small brewer by itself would likely be unable to ultimately survive against the larger brewers that had the advantage of ecomies of scale and enormous marketing budgets. They realized that ultimately it was probably necessary to associate with a larger entity. They also knew that if they could improve their image and sales, it would also make their brewery a more attractive acquisition or merger candidate.
CREATING A "NEW LOOK"
Bavarian realized that the image of their beer as presented by its cans and bottles were dated, as were most of its local competition. Another way to stand out from the competition and be noticed on store shelves and in restaurants and bars, was to he a "New Look," as Bavarian referred to it. (Please see
THE SCHOTT BROTHRS