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Mountain Man Brewing Company

Essay by   •  July 21, 2015  •  Case Study  •  1,297 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,868 Views

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A. Competitive Advantage

Mountain Man Beer Company (MMBC) was founded in 1925 by Guntar Prangel and has been a family run company since its inception. These family-run businesses are associated with a certain level of cohesiveness in running the business operations as compared to large companies. MMBC used this authenticity of being a family-run business to place them in a competitive advantage in the beer market with a large amount of their success coming from blue-collar consumers. This brand awareness led MMBC’s Mountain Man Lager to win “Best Beer in West Virginia” in 2005 as well as being selected as “America’s Championship Lager”. Along with a strong company history and brand awareness, two other factors distinguished Mountain Man Lager from the competitors: a distinctively bitter flavor and higher than average alcohol content. It was a popular sentiment amongst the core consumer base of the beer that since their ancestors drank Mountain Man that it was just about as good of a beer you’d be able to find anywhere else.

MMBC focused on three bases to sustain their competitive advantage in the market: their brand awareness, perception of their beer and branding, and quality of the beer and packaging. MMBC has been a known entity in the West Virginia region and has developed a strong history amongst families of having a quality brew. The relationships built by having a family-run business tend to last longer and maintain a more loyal consumer base to the brand and product. The bottle maintained the same dark color and design of coal miners since 1925 and has created a sense of appeal to their biggest consumer base of blue-collar workers.

B. Market Situation

Despite being in the beer market since 1925, MMBC has only brewed one beer – Mountain Man Lager. Over the past few years, the sales of traditional beers such as Mountain Man Lager have declined by an estimated 4% per year, while the sales of light beers have increased by the same amount per year. Larger breweries are putting pressure on MMBC to find a way to remain competitive with the market and their distributors of beer. Despite MMBC still maintaining a strong brand perception and awareness, their sales are still declining. This is due to a variety of reasons. First, the overall beer consumption has declined. While this plays into lower revenues for MMBC, it is not their primary cause of declining sales. Mostly it is due to the fact that their core consumer base is aging. MMBC has appealed to blue-collar workers with a rich tradition of consuming the Mountain Man Lager within the family. However, the current demographic has shown a shift in drinker preference towards a lighter beer. MMBC will likely phase out in time with their aging consumer base if they do not implement a new base to sustain a competitive advantage in the beer market.

C. Qualitative Evaluation

As with introducing any new product to the market, there are pros and cons associated with the move. A significant pro of introducing a new light beer is that it would immediately target the largest beer consuming segment in the market – young adults between ages 21 to 27. This market segment has not developed a brand loyalty yet and by getting into this segment early, MMBC stands to create a strong impression to gather a larger consumer base. In addition, a light brew will attract more female consumers, something that their current Mountain Man Lager does not do as well. This will further increase their consumer base and increasing their presence in more segments of the market. The light beer market has been steadily increasing each year and MMBC can capitalize on this growth by introducing a new light beer. A new light beer could also stand to benefit the brand and further create brand awareness.

Consequently, introducing a new light brew could upset the current consumer base, who view MMBC as a “man’s man” brewing company with a strong tradition and history of a quality

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