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June 23, 2006


Jason Dufair

Now if I could just download some of that Jekyll and Hyde to try it...


Actually, that sounds pretty neat. There is a lot of niche space for liqueurs and cordials. The ingredient list for cocktails alone is quite extensive. You should try finding maraschino liqueur (no, it doesn't taste like the cherries) or falernum offline. Have you ever tried chartreuse, in yellow or green, strega, or creme de violet? How many different brands of scotch are there? How about marc or armagnanac?

Busch is being rather clever with their pairing, since the fruit flavor alone can be cloying. Pouring out layers is a clever idea. There's a cocktail, pousse cafe or something, that takes advantage of the slow mixing rates, varying densities and viscosities of several liqueurs, and has several layers.

Phil Ayres

Its a shame that a Long Tail libation will never be as enjoyable (for me at least) as Long Trail, a fabulous Vermont beer.

A-B should do a little research on marketing alco-pops to early drinkers and the backlash that occurred in the UK. Either way, its good to see that they are accepting that Bud-Light is not everybody's taste!


As I learned the most beautifull aspect of the longtail is the fact that thanks to the rise of internet,people can buy online stuff that is not available in fysical outlets. Reason: shelf space is too expensive.
In the Anheuser Bush case, I can't imagine that they are going to sell the new products online. That means that they have to buy their way into the fysical shelves. In that way the same economics apply and is right to talk about a longtail?
Isn't it just a diversification strategy where the new products will have to reach the same sales number per product (or same contribution margin per shelf space) as the fastmovers?

Chris Anderson

I'm no expert on beer, but I presume their strategy is enabled by more effecient distribtion/stocking economics in at least some of their retail channel. My reading of their move is that it is now cost-effective to offer more SKUs in the shelf, and as a result they're able to segment their market and reach niches. The LT kicks in anywhere there's a dramatic reduction in the marginal selling cost of goods, of which online is the most obvious--but by no means the only--example.

Camera Bags

Quite an interesting article. Tails of distributions come up quite a bit in the work that I do, and it is nice to seem them applied to craft brewing. I think that this kind of theory is a good first step at modeling certain emergent behaviors of humans. The application to understanding the human response to increased availability of craft beer is also very promissing. An interesting question, is if the taste distribution is even representative of the inherent preference of beer drinkers.

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!