Hi, I’m Coors. Fly me. formula to achieve a light, conventional taste and hue. A former employee of the U. S. Brewers’ Association who has conducted numerous blind taste-tests over the years told me, “Even the worst kind of Sholtz Garten snobs couldn’t ever tell the difference between various American beers.” It’s no surprise, then, that an appealing image is the way to an appealing sales record, and here advertising makes all the difference. Bob Leggett spends about $250 every other month on advertising, about all he can afford. Spoetzl Brewery matches every dollar he puts into ads, but when Leggett wanted to spend more than $250 several months ago for space in the Daily Texan, the brewery, he says, told him to hold off. “We both spend about as much as we can afford,” he says. Still, $500 every other monthor $3,000 a year even if that were the ad outlay for every market in the state, can’t begin to compete with the image-building power, of, say, Anheuser-Busch, which spent a guestimated $2 million on advertising in Texas last year. Promotional paraphernaliaclocks, lighted signs, napkins, bottle openers, coasters, and emblazoned glassware comes cheaper for the big brands, and is too often beyond the reach of independent brewers with limited budgets and capital. “I’ve got the same glassware as anybody else, but I can’t offer it at the same price,” says Leggett. “Schlitz by itself could keep a glass company in business.” “The brewer can’t afford to supply us with enough clocks and lighted signs,” he says. And neons, at $120 each, are simply too costly for Spoetzl to provide at all. “Yet virtually every Coors place in town has a neon.” Leggett finds it particularly hard to compete with more established beers for a share of the draft market. “Keg sales, bar accounts, are terribly hard to get into,” he says. Because of keg beer’s limited shelf-life, bars prefer to stock brands that sell quickly. While Shiner kegs are the lowest-priced in the local market \($22.75 per 15.5 gallon keg, compared to it’s usually sold over the bar at the same price as other beers \(roughly 55 cents a Shiner sales because bar flies order the bigger-selling beers if they’re going for the same price. The same situation obtains in retail package sales. The Fourth of July weekend traditionally offers the brewing industry a sellers market. But for Shiner in Austin, predicts Leggett, “It will just kinda be business as usual.” Observer staff assistant Matthew Lyon, a student from Amherst, Massachusetts, has written for The New York Times and the Berkshire Eagle \(Pitts6 JULY 7, 1978 By Margaret Watson Austin Stop by the bar in any major Texas airport for a cold draft beer and what do you find? The taste of Golden, Colorado, that’s what. No Texas airport serves a Texas beer! Great ghost of Sam Houston! In a state that is proud of everything Texan, the thirsty traveler will not be offered a Shiner, Pearl or Lone Star. Coors seems to have a lock on the airport market. Coors is all you can buy at Houston Intercontinental, Houston Hobby, Dallas-Fort Worth Interregional, Dallas Love Field and San Antonio International. Things are not much better elsewhere in the state. In Austin, your choice is limited to Coors on draft or Lowenbrau in bottles; El Paso’s International airport serves up only Coors and Michelob on tap. What’s going on here is that our city governments and airport authorities have sold out Texas, leasing out flying field bars to out-of-state corporations much more concerned with standardized purchase orders and the uniform product code than with diversity of taste and pure old Texas pride. Three national restaurant firms have carved up the territory: Airline Terminal Service, a Buffalo, New York, concessionaire for racetracks, airports and ball parks, serves Hobby; Sky Chef, a wholly owned subsidiary of New York City’s American Airlines, serves El Paso International; and Dobbs House, a Tennessee-based restaurant chain owned by Squibb Corporation, has taken over the state’s other five municipal airports. Why does Coors dominate? Dobbs House marketing representative Barrie Simpson says her company’s exclusive sale of Coors is based on air passenger studiessome paid for by Coorsmade in 1975. Most air travelers, Simpson ex states], is perceived as premium.” Where Coors is not avilable, she adds, Dobbs House serves Michelob or Budweiser. What about all those people the new supersaver and peanuts fares have added to the population of air travelers, and what about the influx of less-thanpremium vactioners? Dobbs has plugged into Travelpulse, a nationwide survey, to check changes in the air travel market, but results have not yet been compiled. Service is why ATS chose to serve Coors at Hobby airport in Houston, says manager Nicholas Drossos. “The [Coors] fellow gives good service. I used to serve Budweiser but the service was lousy, so I switched.” Sky Chef manager Edwin Wojcik based his selections on local tastes. “Here in El Paso people don’t drink Texas brands very much … Probably 80 percent of our customers are from back East and want to try Coors.” He tried selling packaged Texas beer for a while, he says, but it just didn’t go over. The question still unanswered is why the bars in Texas’ six biggest commercial airports serve only one brand of draft beer. Standardization and convenience, says Simpson. “You can see its easier to deal with just one distributor.” Austin Dobbs House manager Don Buchanan elaborates: “We want to maintain a consistency in the quality of presentation.” Draft beer equipment is expensive, one brewers’ lobbyist argues, and state and federal regulations prohibit distributors from providing retail outlets with any gear. But Mike Glover, general manager of Coors of Austin, Inc., told the Observer that the cost of adding another draft beer is “next to nothing all you need is another regulator for the CO2 tank, which costs $16 to $20.” Dobbs House denies it has entered into any agreement with Coors guaranteeing exclusive sales rights. “That would be illegal,” Simpson is quick to point out. Beer industry representatives rally around the “that’s illegal” refrain. They %.$ x4: plains, are “upperclass businessmen who desire a premium beer, and Coors, with … its limited availability [it’s sold in only 16 tg.’,:tom%
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