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Pete Coors is Bringing Back Banquet — How the Craft Consumer is Changing Things, Even for the Big Guys

—————— June 10, 2013 ——————

If you’ve been noticing Coors Banquet a lot more lately — it’s for a reason. In one of the most competitive times in American brewing history, most of the macro brewer labels are flat to failing, and craft beer continues to rise. Most of the large brewers are introducing new products at an unprecedented rate, tweaking everything from flavors to abv to packaging to get drinkers to pay attention again. And while many gain an initial presence, they fade faster than ever.

But Pete Coors was quietly sitting on a gold mine all this time. While competitors continue to gut the authenticity of their brands, Coors Banquet enters this competitive market with a brand that’s gone largely unnoticed, and therefore unscathed, for a long time. The beer that once drove fans to load up their trunks in Colorado and peddle it across the country, is taking another shot at going national almost 30 years since it disappeared in the shadow of light lagers. There’s nothing new about Banquet — same flavor, same family, even the same packaging since returning to it’s heritage stubby bottle and a “commemorative can.” But that’s precisely the point for the Coors team. Alongside the return of brands like Genesee, there’s a distinct “heritage” trend gaining steam in American brewing. It’s not craft. It’s not quite retro, as Pete points out. And it’s working. Double-digit growth for Banquet in Chicago proves it. And now Pete’s in town to back it up. His perspective on the industry is a unique one, having the longevity many newer brewery owners can only hope for. He tells a good story, and he’s pushing a beer that he believes is “in a perfect place” in the market. And he has craft brewers and consumers to thank for some of it.