The Key Drivers That Push Abita Forward Nearly 40 Years Later

With the brewery’s 40th anniversary in just a few short years, Louisiana’s Abita is still finding ways to continue its growth by sticking to its fundamentals that were started in the mid-1980s.

“Since we started, our mantra has always been quality over quantity by creating a portfolio that focuses on great tasting beers with an emphasis on the highest quality ingredients,” said Abita VP of Marketing Heidi Guerra. “This process is something we take great pride in as a team and ties into our sustainability initiatives.”

Looking to source local ingredients, Abita has implemented eco-friendly measures in production with solar panels and its EquiTherm system, which allows them to recycle energy during the brewing process.

“I honestly don’t think that these ideas have shifted from the first decade, they have just adapted to the times,” Guerra said. “In the beginning, we were focused on our core brands because ‘craft beer’ was still new and unchartered territory for a lot of consumers, they weren’t used to fruit in beer or high ABVs.

“Now, everyone is familiar with craft beer and is open to experimenting with different flavor profiles so that allows us to have fun with different ingredients and taste profiles.”

Abita is generating growth within its core offerings, including its flagship Amber Lager, which is up 1% YTD in its home stared while adding velocity in the C-store and the grocery channel with its 19.2-ounce cans of AndyGator Helles Doppelbock.

The “Gator” brand is pushing forward for Abita and Guerra shared recently that the company will focus on building a line extension by offering a mixed 12-pack of its high ABV beers featuring AndyGator (8%), StrawGator (an 8% Strawberry Doppelbock) and AlphaGator (a 9% Imperial IPA). All three brands will have refreshed packaging and be available in 19.2oz cans as well.

Also, Abita has focused on winning in the Southeast through chains like Rouse’s, Publix, and HEB, along with having sodas are among the first “Beyond Beer” offerings from any craft brewer in the US. That portfolio has now expanded to include hop water, hard lemonade, crafted cocktails, and sweet tea.

READ MORE: Brew Review: Hop 99 Light IPA — Abita Brewing

“We also believe in product diversification and innovation, even before things were ‘trendy,’ Guerra said. “We were one of the first breweries that released a fruit beer in the 90s with Purple Haze, we launched one of the first IPAs in Louisiana, and we had a high gravity beer with AndyGator before high gravity was a thing.

“By staying ahead of trends and experimenting with different styles, we have been able to remain relevant and attracting new consumers, while retaining our existing fans. We have to keep a pulse on the evolving consumer preferences, which is why we developed our seasonal series and our limited series as a brewer’s playground. This strategy allows us to capture a wider audience who are looking for a variety of flavor offerings.”

Other 2024 that Abita is planning to include a label refresh for Strawberry Lager, new wraparound cardboard packs for all canned six-pack offerings, and introducing more canned offerings like Beeracuda, along with AndyGator and StrawGator in 12-oz cans, all set to premiere in the first half of the year.

“We have made great beer for the last 40 years and we are going to continue making great beer for the next 40 years and that is why we have a positive outlook for the future,” Guerra said. “We are going to stay true to who we are as a brewery and focus on our core brands and allow our product diversification to surround those brands.  

“Our customers want what they know and love and we have that for them. We also know that they want to experiment and try new things and we are going to deliver what they want through our limited and seasonal series. It’s a balance of focusing on our core while continuing to constantly innovate. But at the end of the day, it is about staying true to who we are as a brand.”

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