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Boston Beer (SAM) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Boston Beer (United States)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Boston Beer is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, wage bills are increasing, increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Boston Beer


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Boston Beer can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Boston Beer, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Boston Beer operates in.

According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of the managers use SWOT analysis for various purposes such as – evaluating current scenario, strategic planning, new venture feasibility, personal growth goals, new market entry, Go To market strategies, portfolio management and strategic trade-off assessment, organizational restructuring, etc.




SWOT Objectives / Importance of SWOT Analysis and SWOT Matrix


SWOT analysis of Boston Beer can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Boston Beer
2. Improving business portfolio management of Boston Beer
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in United States
4. Making a Beverages (Alcoholic) sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Boston Beer




Strengths of Boston Beer | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Boston Beer are -

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Boston Beer comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry, building diversified operations across different geographies so that disruption in one part of the world doesn’t impact the overall performance of the firm, and integrating the various business operations and processes through its digital transformation drive.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

– Suppliers of Boston Beer in the Consumer/Non-Cyclical sector have low bargaining power. Boston Beer has further diversified its suppliers portfolio by building a robust supply chain across various countries. This helps Boston Beer to manage not only supply disruptions but also source products at highly competitive prices.

Learning organization

- Boston Beer is a learning organization. It has inculcated three key characters of learning organization in its processes and operations – exploration, creativity, and expansiveness. The work place at Boston Beer is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at Boston Beer emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

High brand equity

– Boston Beer has strong brand awareness and brand recognition among both - the exiting customers and potential new customers. Strong brand equity has enabled Boston Beer to keep acquiring new customers and building profitable relationship with both the new and loyal customers.

Organizational Resilience of Boston Beer

– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing Boston Beer does. Organizational resilience comprises - Financial Resilience, Operational Resilience, Technological Resilience, Organizational Resilience, Business Model Resilience, and Reputation Resilience.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

– Boston Beer has innovation driven culture where significant part of the revenues are spent on the research and development activities. This has resulted in – Boston Beer staying ahead in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry in terms of – new product launches, superior customer experience, highly competitive pricing strategies, and great returns to the shareholders.

Analytics focus

– Boston Beer is putting a lot of focus on utilizing the power of analytics in business decision making. This has put it among the leading players in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry. The technology infrastructure of United States is also helping it to harness the power of analytics for – marketing optimization, demand forecasting, customer relationship management, inventory management, information sharing across the value chain etc.

Training and development

– Boston Beer has one of the best training and development program in Consumer/Non-Cyclical industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.

Highly skilled collaborators

– Boston Beer has highly efficient outsourcing and offshoring strategy. It has resulted in greater operational flexibility and bringing down the costs in highly price sensitive Beverages (Alcoholic) industry. Secondly the value chain collaborators of Boston Beer have helped the firm to develop new products and bring them quickly to the marketplace.

Diverse revenue streams

– Boston Beer is present in almost all the verticals within the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry. This has provided Boston Beer a diverse revenue stream that has helped it to survive disruptions such as global pandemic in Covid-19, financial disruption of 2008, and supply chain disruption of 2021.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Boston Beer has built up over years in its products and services combo offer has resulted in high retention of customers, lower marketing costs, and greater ability of the firm to focus on its customers.

Successful track record of launching new products

– Boston Beer has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Boston Beer has effective processes in place that helps in exploring new product needs, doing quick pilot testing, and then launching the products quickly using its extensive distribution network.






Weaknesses of Boston Beer | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Boston Beer are -

Products dominated business model

– Even though Boston Beer has some of the most successful models in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry, this business model has made each new product launch extremely critical for continuous financial growth of the organization. Boston Beer should strive to include more intangible value offerings along with its core products and services.

High dependence on Boston Beer ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Boston Beer still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Beverages (Alcoholic) industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Boston Beer has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Boston Beer is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Boston Beer to provide better information regarding Beverages (Alcoholic) products and services. It can also build an online community to further reach out to potential customers.

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Boston Beer has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Lack of clear differentiation of Boston Beer products

– To increase the profitability and margins on the products, Boston Beer needs to provide more differentiated products than what it is currently offering in the marketplace.

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry, Boston Beer needs to come up with a strategy to reduce the workers concern regarding automation. Without a clear strategy, it could lead to disruption and uncertainty within the organization.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Boston Beer, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Beverages (Alcoholic) industry. But it has very little resources allocation to manage the risks emerging from events such as natural disasters, climate change, melting of permafrost, tacking the rise of artificial intelligence, opportunities and threats emerging from commercialization of space etc.

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

– As Boston Beer is one of the leading players in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry, it takes time to assess the upcoming competitions. This has led to missing out on atleast 2-3 big opportunities in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry in last five years.

Aligning sales with marketing

– From the outside it seems that Boston Beer needs to have more collaboration between its sales team and marketing team. Sales professionals in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry have deep experience in developing customer relationships. Marketing department at Boston Beer can leverage the sales team experience to cultivate customer relationships as Boston Beer is planning to shift buying processes online.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Boston Beer is just above the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry average. It needs to redesign the compensation structure and incentives to increase the revenue per employees. Some of the steps that it can take are – hiring more specialists on project basis, etc.

Need for greater diversity

– Boston Beer has taken concrete steps on diversity, equity, and inclusion. But the efforts so far has resulted in limited success. It needs to expand the recruitment and selection process to hire more people from the minorities and underprivileged background.




Boston Beer Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Boston Beer are -

Finding new ways to collaborate

– Covid-19 has not only transformed business models of companies in Beverages (Alcoholic) industry, but it has also influenced the consumer preferences. Boston Beer can tie-up with other value chain partners to explore new opportunities regarding meeting customer demands and building a rewarding and engaging relationship.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

– Boston Beer has spent a significant amount of money and effort to integrate analytics and machine learning into its operations in Beverages (Alcoholic) sector. This continuous investment in analytics has enabled Boston Beer to build a competitive advantage using analytics. The analytics driven competitive advantage can help Boston Beer to build faster Go To Market strategies, better consumer insights, developing relevant product features, and building a highly efficient supply chain.

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Boston Beer can still utilize the low interest rates to borrow money for capital investment. Secondly it can also use the increase of government spending in infrastructure projects to get new business.

Reconfiguring business model

– The expansion of digital payment system, the bringing down of international transactions costs using Bitcoin and other blockchain based currencies, etc can help Boston Beer to reconfigure its entire business model. For example it can used blockchain based technologies to reduce piracy of its products in the big markets such as China. Secondly it can use the popularity of e-commerce in various developing markets to build a Direct to Customer business model rather than the current Channel Heavy distribution network.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

– As explained in the weaknesses section, Boston Beer is facing challenges because of the dominance of functional experts in the organization. Boston Beer can utilize new technology in the field of Beverages (Alcoholic) industry to build more coordinated teams and streamline operations and communications using tools such as CAD, Zoom, etc.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Boston Beer can make experimentation a productive activity and build a culture of innovation using approaches such as – mining transaction data, A/B testing of websites and selling platforms, engaging potential customers over various needs, and building on small ideas in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry.

Increase in government spending

– As the United States and other governments are increasing social spending and infrastructure spending to build economies post Covid-19, Boston Beer can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that Boston Beer operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Beverages (Alcoholic) sector.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Beverages (Alcoholic) industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Boston Beer in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry. Now Boston Beer can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help Boston Beer to increase its market reach. Boston Beer will be able to reach out to new customers. Secondly 5G will also provide technology framework to build new tools and products that can help more immersive consumer experience and faster consumer journey.

Developing new processes and practices

– Boston Beer can develop new processes and procedures in Beverages (Alcoholic) industry using technology such as automation using artificial intelligence, real time transportation and products tracking, 3D modeling for concept development and new products pilot testing etc.

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Boston Beer in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Boston Beer can leverage digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the production process, customer analytics to get better insights into consumer behavior, realtime digital dashboards to get better sales tracking, logistics and transportation, product tracking, etc.

Identify volunteer opportunities

– Covid-19 has impacted working population in two ways – it has led to people soul searching about their professional choices, resulting in mass resignation. Secondly it has encouraged people to do things that they are passionate about. This has opened opportunities for businesses to build volunteer oriented socially driven projects. Boston Beer can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.




Threats Boston Beer External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Boston Beer are -

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Boston Beer in Beverages (Alcoholic) industry. The Beverages (Alcoholic) industry is already at various protected from local competition in China, with the rise of trade war the protection levels may go up. This presents a clear threat of current business model in Chinese market.

Capital market disruption

– During the Covid-19, Dow Jones has touched record high. The valuations of a number of companies are way beyond their existing business model potential. This can lead to capital market correction which can put a number of suppliers, collaborators, value chain partners in great financial difficulty. It will directly impact the business of Boston Beer.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Boston Beer has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Boston Beer needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Beverages (Alcoholic) sector. According to Mckinsey study top managers believe that the adoption of technology in operations, communications is 20-25 times faster than what they planned in the beginning of 2019.

Instability in the European markets

– European Union markets are facing three big challenges post Covid – expanded balance sheets, Brexit related business disruption, and aggressive Russia looking to distract the existing security mechanism. Boston Beer will face different problems in different parts of Europe. For example it will face inflationary pressures in UK, France, and Germany, balance sheet expansion and demand challenges in Southern European countries, and geopolitical instability in the Eastern Europe.

New competition

– After the dotcom bust of 2001, financial crisis of 2008-09, the business formation in US economy had declined. But in 2020 alone, there are more than 1.5 million new business applications in United States. This can lead to greater competition for Boston Beer in the Beverages (Alcoholic) sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

Regulatory challenges

– Boston Beer needs to prepare for regulatory challenges as consumer protection groups and other pressure groups are vigorously advocating for more regulations on big business - to reduce inequality, to create a level playing field, to product data privacy and consumer privacy, to reduce the influence of big money on democratic institutions, etc. This can lead to significant changes in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry regulations.

Learning curve for new practices

– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, Boston Beer may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Beverages (Alcoholic) sector.

Backlash against dominant players

– US Congress and other legislative arms of the government are getting tough on big business especially technology companies. The digital arm of Boston Beer business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Boston Beer high dependence on third party suppliers can disrupt its processes and delivery mechanism. For example -the current troubles of car makers because of chip shortage is because the chip companies started producing chips for electronic companies rather than car manufacturers.

Increasing wage structure of Boston Beer

– Post Covid-19 there is a sharp increase in the wages especially in the jobs that require interaction with people. The increasing wages can put downward pressure on the margins of Boston Beer.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Boston Beer demand

– There is a high probability of declining consumer confidence, given – high inflammation rate, rise of gig economy, lower job stability, increasing cost of living, higher interest rates, and aging demography. All the factors contribute to people saving higher rate of their income, resulting in lower consumer demand in Beverages (Alcoholic) industry and other sectors.

Technology disruption because of hacks, piracy etc

– The colonial pipeline illustrated, how vulnerable modern organization are to international hackers, miscreants, and disruptors. The cyber security interruption, data leaks, etc can seriously jeopardize the future growth of the organization.

Environmental challenges

– Boston Beer needs to have a robust strategy against the disruptions arising from climate change and energy requirements. EU has identified it as key priority area and spending 30% of its 880 billion Euros European post Covid-19 recovery funds on green technology. Boston Beer can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Beverages (Alcoholic) industry.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Boston Beer Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Boston Beer needs to zero down on the relative importance of each factor mentioned in the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants. We can provide the relative importance to each factor by assigning relative weights. Weighted SWOT analysis process is a three stage process –

First stage for doing weighted SWOT analysis of Boston Beer is to rank the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you to assess the most important strengths and weaknesses of the firm and which one of the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the initial lists are marginal and can be left out.

Second stage for conducting weighted SWOT analysis of Boston Beer is to give probabilities to the external strategic factors thus better understanding the opportunities and threats arising out of macro environment changes and developments.

Third stage of constructing weighted SWOT analysis of Boston Beer to provide strategic recommendations includes – joining likelihood of external strategic factors such as opportunities and threats to the internal strategic factors – strengths and weaknesses. You should start with external factors as they will provide the direction of the overall industry. Secondly by joining probabilities with internal strategic factors can help the company not only strategic fit but also the most probably strategic trade-off that Boston Beer needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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