Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to Christopher Ibsen, Chief Marketing Officer of the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain. I was on the receiving end of his charming rebuttal of my comment about Pig Swig (Piggly Wiggly’s private label beer) being one of the growing ranks cheap beers fighting to be the lowest price brew.
Though the Pig Swig line is value priced, price is not core to the brand’s positioning. Indeed, Piggly Wiggly is continuing a long-held strategy of finding local products that can stand shoulder to shoulder with national brands. In working with a highly regarded South Carolina craft brewery (Thomas Creek Brewery), Ibsen says they are offering consumers a high quality alternative to the mass brands like Budweiser. While not for the connoisseur, Pig Swig isn’t targeting college students looking for cheap suds either. Reader comments in the newspaper of record for South Carolina complain the price is too expensive!
I also took a swipe at the name Pig Swig, too. But Ibsen says the funny name fits. Piggly Wiggly is a silly name to begin with, so the company takes a light-hearted approach to their brands. Indeed, the beer category is filled with funny names like Buttface Amber Ale and Arrogant Bastard. Pig Swing is right at home. And the Piggly Wiggly brand is an icon in its market. Ibsen says the company does a brisk business selling “I’m Big on the Pig” t-shirts. While he would not release specific sales figures on Pig Swig, the retailer is equally pleased with sales results, which are “far more than expected.”
Okay, I’ll eat crow if I can wash it down with some Pig Swig.
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