Tomorrow’s drinkers are the giant-killers
Most genuine beer- and cider-loving consumers will favour the small, local, independent, artisanal craft beer and cider over the homogeneous, industrial product, and despite the well-meaning attempts by many organisations to set parameters that define beer and cider as either artisanal or industrial, most consumers see a far simpler distinction.
If a beer or cider is seemingly produced lovingly by a brewery or cidery that appears to sincerely care about the quality of its product and the satisfaction of its consumers, it is considered craft and artisanal; if an inferior replica of a popular beer or cider is seemingly produced by a corporation whose behaviour and motives suggest it relentlessly seeks market domination, the annihilation of its smaller competitors and huge profits at the expense of consumer choice, it is most likely to be considered an industrial giant.
However, not every large beer and cider corporation behaves in this manner, it must be said, although public scrutiny and judiciousness increase proportionately to the growth and development of a giant. Industrial-sized beer and cider producers, therefore, have an obligation to overcompensate — to overtly conduct themselves in an ethical, moral, social, responsible and affable way — if they wish to retain the loyalty and patronage of discerning beer and cider drinkers.
Failure to adopt a strategic Corporate Social Responsibility, whilst adhering to what appears to be a fickle, self-important and condescending policy of indifference, is what differentiates the aggressive and unyielding from the conscientious and honourable.
Consumers are savvy. Consumers are smart. Consumers know the outcome of their purchasing decisions. Corporate, industrial giants who neither care nor accommodate may rest on their laurels, safe in the belief that their market domination rests with the drinking habits of the indifferent masses. However, times are changing, tastes are changing, attitudes to corporate behaviour are changing — future generations see a completely different beer and cider landscape, and their expectations are shifting. The giants failing to recognise this may be felled in one swift, sharp chop. Beware.