The Beer Store helps you pay back the people you owe a drink

The retailer prepares for summer by positioning its value proposition as a way to thank neighbours that helped us in recent months.

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There was a 4.3% increase in beer sales in Ontario through the LCBO, The Beer Store and grocery stores in March, according to the most recently available data by Beer Canada. Despite this, the industry saw an overall decline of 5.3% (compared to 2019) for beer sales due to a 53% dip in restaurant and bar sales.

Despite the fact that The Beer Store serves roughly 20,000 licensed establishments in Ontario, it has been fairly insulated from the economic ramifications of COVID-19, due to the 450 retail stores in Ontario that have remained open, in addition to online pickup and delivery options for consumers. “At the onset of the pandemic, there was that need [to] stock-up and get what they [consumers] need, because we really didn’t know what we were in for,” says Natasha McVie, director of marketing at The Beer Store.

McVie says it’s an interesting time for The Beer Store as it gets into the summer months, typically it’s biggest time of year for sales.

The Beer Store launched a campaign on Monday, following the “May 2-4” long weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer. The “I.O.U.B.” (“I owe you a beer”) campaign highlights the small, but meaningful acts of goodwill from neighbours and communities across the province.

The campaign spots – created by DentsuMcGarryBowen – highlight neighbourly generosity during this time, such as picking up toilet paper or lending a ladder to your neighbour. Finding a way to return the favour is a perfect reason to visit The Beer Store.

The value proposition is a significant part of the campaign. A customer can stock up on bigger pack sizes than they’d get at the LCBO or grocery store, save an average of $9 by buying a case, McVie says.

“Our key differentiator is our ability to encourage customers to stock up and save – because your dollar goes further at The Beer Store when you’re buying larger pack sizes,” she says.

The Beer Store wanted to re-inforce that they’re in every community as it’s a core part of their identity – with hundreds of retail stores in Ontario, on top of 141 partner retailers and 71 northern agents. The Beer Store took a neighbourly-centric approach with the I.O.U.B. campaign because its ubiquity makes it the store “next door,” McVie says.

“We’ve become synonymous with that community-feel, and our ability to engage like that has worked for us,” she says. “This is our second year going out with our sort of large, robust summer campaign, where we really want to fall in line [by] creating that narrative and really reinforcing that, we’re in every community. Every corner, you can almost expect The Beer Store to be available, with its lights on, accepting your orders or accepting your empty container returns.”

The campaign target is the beer consumer, ages 35 to 50. The campaign will run on YouTube, social media and radio, as well as playlists on Spotify. It will run until mid-September.