Kudos to Kukko
There is always something special and heartwarming in finding a product from your native country on a shelf of an American grocery store, especially when you come from a small country like Finland. However, this does not apply to the Swedes who already have Ikea, H&M, and other world dominating brands.
Last week I found some Kukko beer at my local Whole Foods. Its crude simplistic Finnish layout really stood out from all those rich and ornate designs of American Crafts. Although, it didn’t look particularly ecological when it also stood out by being the only beer in a plastic shrink wrap. It’s more about carton over here. Come to think of it, I can’t remember seeing a shrink wrap for a while, except on some other European beers.
The US is a fierce market and many European companies have no idea how much cash you need to spread out before even getting a foothold. Europeans tend to bring baby nail clippers to a gun fight. That’s missing one or two zeroes in plain numbers. The problem is also unrealistic expectations. You just don’t conquer America with European marketing budgets.
Finnish newspapers tell me that Kukko is entering the US market with small steps and taking it more organically. This is your only option if you don’t got the dough. However, taking over the US organically is a long trek or a one in a million fairy tail. If your plans are big, you need one of the following: determination over decades, a big pile of cash, or a fairly good amount of luck. Preferably all of them.
Nevertheless, Kudos to Kukko for being smart and choosing Texas as your port of entry. It’s a huge market of 27 million people where craft beer and gluten free are booming. I think it's the perfect place to start your journey into the hearts and livers of American consumers.