Still miles to go on beer journey

Price, choice and country of origin hold key to category success


SCOTTISH pubs have still to fully realise the potential offered by the world beer category.

Though recent figures from CGA paint a less than rosy picture of the category, with the value of packaged world beer sold in Scotland’s pubs and bars down 17% and draught down 9% in the last year, distributors maintain there is still plenty room for growth in the sector.
They insist it’s a profit opportunity too good to ignore.
“There are clear gaps for world lager in the Scottish on-trade beer market which pubs could really utilise,” said David Scott, director of marketing at Carlsberg UK, which supplies San Miguel, Staropramen and Mahou to the Scottish trade.
“As retailers can charge up to 63p extra per pint for world lager over standard lager, the Scottish on-trade should tap into this significant revenue opportunity.”
With literally a world of beer to choose from, there is an art to picking the right range, it seems.
Graham Archibald, national account director of The Morgenrot Group, which distributes world beer brands such as Affligem and Cruzcampo, said it’s vital that operators stock a range which spans different price points as well as countries of origin.
“I’m not saying you need a list of 300 beers but consumers are showing a willingness to experiment so make sure you offer a selection of beer styles at different price points from a range of countries,” he said.
“There is nothing wrong with changing your beer list or adding to it every now and again to freshen it up.
“Different beers sell better in different seasons so create excitement by moving things about and offering specials.”
Provenance is particularly important when selecting brands, Archibald said, as consumers will often look for a brand with a proven history or story.
Ian Moss, marketing controller of Budvar UK, insisted authenticity is vital, quipping that “smart drinkers always recognise the wolf done up as granny.”
“Indeed the world beer success in the UK is based on a growing core of smart drinkers who when choosing their beers place enormous importance on heritage, ingredients and provenance,” he said.
Yet even the most robust range will amount to nothing if it’s not backed by a quality range, according to Jason Wills, senior brand manager at Heineken. “It’s important you make sure that the product quality is good,” said Wills. “The danger is that you have too many brands on draught, so the quality ends up suffering because the rate of sale’s not good enough, or you don’t have the right cooling in outlet.
“It’s about giving the consumer a really good experience if they’re going to try something new.
“If you serve a brand to them that’s not good enough they’re not likely to come back and consider that brand again.”

Image: “Smart drinkers always recognise the wolf dressed up as granny,” insist the people at Budvar UK.