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Mountain Man Brewing Company

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Mountain Man Brewing Company was an independent, family owned brewery which produced the Mountain Man Lager, a beer known for its authenticity, quality and toughness. It had a distinctive bitter flavor, slightly higher than average alcohol content and was considered a strong working man's beer. It was rated the "Best beer in West Virginia" for 8 straight years. It was also rated as the "Best beer in Indiana", "America's championship lager", "Best known regional beer" and the "West Virginia beer". Research had shown that the Mountain Man Brewery was as recognizable brand among working class males as Chevrolet or John Deere and this was the cornerstone of the brand's success with blue collar customers. Brand played a critical role in beer purchasing decision. Mountain Man was a legacy brew in a mature market. It relied on its history and status as an independent, family owned brewery to create an aura of authenticity.

The competition in the beer market fell in four different categories. Major and second-tier domestic producers, import beer companies, and specialty brewers. The Major domestic producers like Anheuser Busch, Miller Brewing Company and Adolf Coors Company, accounted for 74% of the market in Mountain Man's region. The second tier domestic producers had 12.5% share, import beer companies had a 12% share and the craft beer industry owned the rest. Mountain Man Brewers were a second tier company.

Changes in beer drinkers' preferences were a major cause of declining sales. Light beer sales were growing at an annual rate of 4% per year coinciding with a 4% decline in premium beer sales. The light beers had already risen to 50.4% of total beer sales and Mountain Man had no representation in this segment. The demand for import and craft beer was increasing. Heavy discounting on beer had caused larger beer producers to put pressure on smaller ones. Younger drinkers who were not prime Mountain Man customers represented 27% beer sales.



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