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SABMiller: Bringing science to the art of brewing better beers

From the Camo archive, we present the case of SABMiller, leading beer brewer that in 2016 became a business division of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, the world’s largest brewer and one of the largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in the world.

Dr Adam Fenton is a Consumer Science Consultant for SABMiller, one of the world’s leading beer brewers. Adam is part of a technical group working very closely with their marketing group, whose role is to serve all brands and markets globally to help SABMiller brew better tasting beer. Adam has been using Unscrambler software for several years to get deeper insights into product development, branding and consumer segmentation.

Data mining for deeper product and consumer insights

Adam explains, “We use Unscrambler to classify and analyze liquids in 2 & 3 dimensional maps to represent the products we have so technical people and marketing people can talk.”

“It’s really about understanding the product better so we have a richer terminology that resonates with our consumers in their local markets. It also lets us understand the technical differences between beers based on objective analysis from taste panels and laboratory equipment.”

Adam uses Unscrambler to analyze consumer studies and determine how consumer data relates to technical data, then link that to consumer preferences. He explains, “It enables us to find patterns in consumer data and understand how the consumers see differences in beers. For example, we might describe one particular beer as being ‘hoppy’, but what is the difference in perception between Colombian consumers and Panamanian consumers?”

Unscrambler enables Adam to dig deeper into their data using Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR), Principal Component Regression (PCR) and cluster analysis.

Data driven insights = real business benefits

SABMiller has developed new products using insights from their analysis work with Unscrambler combined with other insights. Adam says “Unscrambler analysis helped us identify opportunities for our brands.”

The company also uses the software to assess acceptability of potential brands in local markets. It helps inform which brands are most likely to succeed in which markets and which segments based on marketing cues and technical information.

Industry: Beer brewing

Camo Product: Unscrambler

Executive Summary:

  • ● Uses data analysis for product development, branding and consumer segmentation
  • ● Have developed new brands and refined positioning of existing brands based on their analysis
  • ● Uses multivariate methods including PCA, PLSR, PCR and cluster analysis


At a glance: SABMiller

  • ● One of the leading brewers in the world & one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products
  • ● Over 200 brands including Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell, Grolsch & Miller Genuine Draft
  • ● 70,000 employees in over 75 countries with group revenue of US$34,487 million in the year ended 31 March 2013
  • ● In the year ended 31 March 2013 together sold 242 million hectolitres of lager

“We collect so much technical manufacturing data and market research data, yet we waste it. The data mining capabilities of Unscrambler helps us create leading brands and greater value for the business from our data.”

Dr Adam Fenton, Consumer Science Consultant, SABMiller

As with most companies, SABMiller have an enormous amount of valuable data which often remains untapped. Today however, Adam’s group is increasingly using this valuable resource to deliver business benefits for the company. “We collect so much technical manufacturing data and market research data, yet we waste it. The data mining capabilities of Unscrambler help us create leading brands and greater value for the business from our data.”

Intuitive and easy to use

In addition to the multivariate methods in the software, he chose to Unscrambler because of its ease of use and the excellent data visualization tools compared to other statistical software. “It’s more intuitive than other programs and it’s easier to get results out of it to show people. It’s more aesthetically pleasing than just red lines and numbers. For example, I can show a colleague in marketing a 3D graph and they understand almost immediately how it relates to their marketing.”

Adam also likes the compatibility of Unscrambler with Microsoft Office products. “It interacts very well with Excel which makes data importing easy. It’s also useful to be able to cut and paste graphs from Unscrambler into PowerPoint.”

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