With a scorcher of a summer predicted, and consumers increasingly opting to stay in and socialise; summer 2009 will boost the fortunes of beers and ciders.
19 May 2009 | 0
At a glance: BEERS & CIDERS
- Bulmers Pear was launched into the Irish market in March
- Noreast has introduced the Aspall Suffolk Cyder award-winning range in Ireland
- Dutch Gold was growing at over 5% last year in a declining market
- Druids is the number two cider in Ireland
- Karpackie premium Polish beer has strongly grown in the Irish market
- Foster’s is outperforming the lager market, growing at 0.2%
- German beer Warsteiner was recently launched on draught across Ireland
- Stoya is the only brand available at the six for €7 price point
- Miller Genuine Draft is now the fourth largest premium everyday lager brand in Ireland and accounts for 7% of the total lager market, on and off-trade
- Sol was launched onto the Irish market in mid 2006 by Heneiken Ireland and has since enjoyed rapid success
According to Nielsen statistics, the off-trade lager market is declining at -1.1% (Source: MAT Sales January 2009, AC Nielsen.) However, individual lager brands are actually witnessing positive growth despite current difficulties. The Competition Authority’s ‘Grocery Monitor: Report Number One between 2001 and 2006’ confirms that Irish shoppers are extremely loyal to brands in the alcohol sector; while penetration of own-label products is very low. Discounting continues to be a key trend moreover, as consumers seek ever more value. Manufacturers have met this challenge with multi-packs flashed at enticing prices. On the other hand, the premiumisation of certain brands is also a driving force within the market, particularly for imported beers that offer an exotic point of difference.
Concern over binge drinking has revived the market for low-alcohol drinks; growing 12% in value since 2006. While lager dominates, buoyed by investment in new lower and mid-strength variants, cider sales are finally moving forward. Cider brands are also introducing refreshing new tastes to fit the summer mood, such as the heavily-marketed Bulmers Pear. Noreast has also introduced distinctive new cider blends through the launch of Aspall Suffolk Cyder varieties here in the Republic.
March 2009 saw the exciting launch of new Bulmers Pear to the Irish market, which commentators say will expand the cider category. A Bulmers Pear roadshow showcased the brand to hundreds of guests in Dublin, Cork and Galway, and the product was sampled at the launch in a specially designed pear orchard.
Speaking at the Dublin launch managing director, Bulmers Ltd, Michael Merrins said: “We are absolutely thrilled about this new product launch and firmly believe that Bulmers Pear will be the most successful brand extension in the history of our company. Pear is a natural and exciting progression for Bulmers Ltd, and this new move is indicative of our commitment to develop and grow the cider category in Ireland in this difficult market climate. This launch demonstrates the brand’s leadership in terms of responding to consumer needs and revitalising the drinks market.”
Available in 568ml pint bottle, 330ml long neck bottle and 500ml can, Bulmers Pear will be available throughout the licensed and grocery trade.
This year the Bulmers brand will be highlighted at a number of high profile events, including: Bulmers All Ireland Cups and Shields, the biggest competition on the Irish amateur golf calendar, and the Bulmers International Comedy Festival, which is in its sixth year and has become one of the most successful comedy festivals in the world. In addition, sponsorship of the Magners League has been extended for a further two years.
Dutch Gold has launched a new pack flashed at six cans for €7.5
0. Customers will know there has been no price increase for Dutch Gold and still remains the best value beer on the market.
Dutch Gold was growing at over 5% last year in a declining market. This brand leader in its category will continue to bring value and quality to the consumer over these difficult economic times.
Druids Cider is the biggest growing cider on the Irish market. Now, in number two position, Druids cider with a top quality recipe designed specifically for Irish consumer taste, will continue to offer value at €1.59 per can and on promotion during the summer at six cans for €8.
Karpackie premium Polish beer is a 5% ABV product brewed and canned in Rzeszow, Poland. Karpackie in its stand out flashed pack at four cans for €5 is breaking all records in terms of beer brand growth in the Irish market.
Wizard of Oz
Foster’s continues to grow in the challenging Irish beer market, at +0.2% versus the lager market which is declining at -1.1% (Source: MAT Sales January 2009, AC Nielsen). In May Foster’s launched its latest trade offering, the new 50cl can six pack flashed at €9. The new “six for €9” pack reflects Heineken Ireland’s continued focus on Foster’s as a quality product at an affordable price. This is the first of a number of new initiatives by Foster’s in 2009 that will position the brand as a highly competitive contender in the off-trade sector.
The ultimate in user-friendly packaging makes the product compact and easy to carry adding to its all round convenience. The blue ice design emphasises the super chilled brand imagery. The price point is highlighted in red and instantly stands out. This new and improved packaging will also be introduced for the eight pack later this summer.
The Foster’s brand will be supported by a new regional radio campaign that will be launched in line with the new “six for €9” pack. The pack will be available to order from Heineken Ireland sales representatives from May 2009.
A ray of Sol
Sol, the original Mexican beer, is set for a nationwide off-trade rollout this summer. With an ABV of 4.5%, its presentation in a distinctive clear ‘flint’ bottle magnifies its vibrant sunshine yellow, adding to the beer’s distinctive summer-time proposition, especially when served with a lime wedge. Its aroma, light flavour and hoppiness also combine to make it a refreshing summer beer.
Sol was introduced into the Irish market by Heineken Ireland in mid 2006 and has since enjoyed rapid success in both on and off-trade channels. Heineken Ireland is currently in the process of a nationwide rollout for the Sol brand in the off-trade, and consumer reaction to the brand is very positive. The brand is being supported by an extensive below the line campaign.
This year Guinness marks its 250 year anniversary with a year-long global celebration. For off-trade, an eye catching new Guinness 250 identity, which has been available since March, appears on all standard primary and secondary packaging across 330ml and 500ml Guinness draught cans and also all standard multipacks.
The Guinness 8 x 500ml fridge pack will have four different unique pack base panels which highlight various elements of Guinness heritage. These include the signing
of the lease on St James’ Gate in 1759, the iconic Gilroy characters, which appeared in advertising campaigns between the 1930s and 1950s, and innovations in the off-trade around the widget in 1988.
At the start of this month, Guinness will launch a very special, exclusive promotion for the off-trade. The promotion a ‘Remarkable Year with Guinness’ will give one lucky Guinness drinker the chance to win tickets to all Guinness events including the Galway Races and the Cork Jazz Festival, as well as €2500 towards accommodation and transport.
Promotional packs will be in the market from May. The competition will be supported in-store with innovative POS, as well as online advertising and PR to drive entries.
Brewed in Antwerp, Belgian-style beer Duvel is fragrant and has flavours reminiscent of orange zest, pear brandy and green apples. Manufacturers say it is considered to be one of the finest, if not the finest beer in the world amongst beer experts. Duvel, the Flemish for ‘devil’, was founded in 1871 and is a classic beer. Duvel has fruity and pronounced hop aromas, and although dry, retains alcohol-sweet flavours. Thanks to the balance between a fine aroma and subtle bitterness, the beer occupies a unique position in the rich Belgian beer tradition.
Duvel also has a unique glass, the first tulip shaped glass to allow a full 330ml bottle to be poured in one. The glass enables a more complete experience of the beer, as the round shape releases its flavours and aromas. As the glass narrows towards the top, it helps to keep the head and also allows a better division between beer and froth in the same glass, where a classical glass would leave only froth. The inner circle inside the bottom of the Duvel glass also causes the subtle sparkling of the beer up to its head.
Purity law delivers pure class
Warsteiner is one of the best-known and well-respected lager brands in Europe and is among the most popular beer brands in Germany. This pilsner-style beer, which is brewed using select ingredients and soft water from the company’s own Kaiserquelle (“Emperor’s Spring”), is brewed in the town of Warstein in Germany and dates back to 1753. All beers are brewed in strict accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516 (no chemicals, additives or preservatives). This guarantees that Warsteiner is of the highest quality, claims the brand. Warsteiner 4.8% Premium Verum is a pilsner-style beer with a fresh, balanced taste crowned by a frothy head and a mild, crisp hop finish. 2009 will be a big year for Warsteiner in Ireland as the brand has recently been launched on draught across the country, which will increase consumer awareness.
Noreast, long known for its efforts in developing premium beer in Ireland, is launching a new range of ciders which the company believes will re-define our perception of the product. Suffolk based cider-maker Aspall is dedicated to producing cider according to traditional methods, using only the juice of fresh, whole, pressed apples. Noreast claims the results are almost incomparable to the array of cider brands currently available in the Irish market, differentiated by their sophistication and complexity.
Unlike Aspall Suffolk Cyder, most other cider brands are made from concentrate and glucose syrups to stretch fermentation. In developing this range of ciders, Aspall played with many different types of fruit; from astringent heavy tannin cider apples such as Medaille d’Or, to dessert and culinary fruit like Cox and Bramley. During this process Aspall concluded that blending different fruit was the best option, capturing the best qualities that each apple provides.
Aspall produces a range of award winning ‘cyders’ including Premier Cru (top prize at the 2008 Quality Drinks Awards), Organic and Draught (which was described when scooping the 2006 Quality Drinks Award as “almost like drinking a sauvignon blanc”).
A star is born
Noreast is proud to announce the launch of Stoya Superior Lager into the Irish off-trade sector. Stoya has been developed over the last three years as a response to the changing needs and tastes of Irish customers and consumers. Stoya offers consumers a superior quality, master-brewed lager and will be the only brand available at the six for €7 price point.
Stoya is brewed by Martens Brewery (one of Belgium’s most respected breweries) in strict accordance with the Reinheitsgebot purity law using only the finest barley malt, hops and spring water. Given the growth of the premium imported beer market, Noreast has created a brew which delivers on the taste and colour expected from the category but at a more affordable price point.
Stoya is one of the most visually striking brands in the canned beer segment and has been wrapped and flashed to meet the expressed needs of retailers. For more information contact Noreast on 042 9339858 or visit www.noreast.ie.
A genuine icon
Miller Genuine Draft is now the fourth largest premium everyday lager brand in Ireland and from 1 May will be distributed by Irish company Richmond Marketing. Miller Genuine Draft currently accounts for 7% of the total lager market, on and off-trade (Source Nielsen 08.) MGD is an innovative brand with a great taste that can be enjoyed on all occasions. Miller Genuine Draft will introduce Ireland’s first ever ‘twist off’ beer bottle cap, available from May 2009, offering a beer with convenience of opening especially for outdoor summer drinking occasions.
The brand has special appeal among 21 to 34 year olds and successfully encourages trial. For more information contact Richmond Marketing on 01 6233222.
Hear the tiger roar
Tiger has a consumer campaign running in Irish bars throughout the summer; the Tiger Full Moon Party Tour continues to travel around the country, with nine events already taking place and another 20 to come. Tiger Beer will give clubbers an authentic ‘full moon’ experience, backed-up with lots of local off-trade activity in each area and also prize trips to Thailand. Tiger also launches a special limited edition 20 pack for the summer, targeted at festival and BBQ goers.
Questions and answers with…
MD Richmond Marketing
Why did SABMiller choose Richmond Marketing to distribute MGD in Ireland?
We gained SABMiller’s Peroni and Pilsner Urquell brands about 18 months ago. So when the company examined the Miller brand’s distribution in Ireland, I imagine they knew us and were impressed with what our team has managed to do, with Red Bull since 1995, Volvic and Evian since 2005, and Tiger Beer since 2000.
How will you deliver effective marketing for Miller Genuine Draft?
We’ll concentrate on the fundamentals…the quality of the draught product, and the availability of the packaged product. We’ll also be carrying out significant research into Irish people’s attitudes to alcohol in general and beer in particular. That research project has already started and will be ongoing for the next six months, so I think both ourselves and SABMiller are taking a long-term view. It’s not a question of what do we do for the next 12 months, but the next 12 years.
Will Richmond Marketing deliver wider distribution of MGD?
It’s actually quite well distributed [in the off trade]. However Miller as a brand had been heavily price promoted over the previous five years. The two fundamental questions are why was it so heavily promoted price wise in comparison with its competitors? And secondly, its distribution on draught is limited and normally people would see quality draught availability as a fundamental part of developing a beer brand, so those are the two glaring issues.
Will you continue such price promotions?
Price promotion should be kept in balance. I would question whether Miller as a brand has been overly price promoted during the last five years. And that’s not just me questioning it, that’s a pretty fundamental issue for the SABMiller company. If you continue to over promote on price over a period of time, then you risk losing your premium status. It’s a testament to the resilience of the brand, that despite heavy price promotion, consumers still have a passion and an affinity for Miller.
What can Richmond Marketing bring to the Irish market?
In soft drinks, there’s two large players, Coca-cola and Britvic. Now with Richmond Marketing handling and distributing Volvic, Evian and Redbull, we’re effectively the third player…I think it’s important there’s a local Irish third-player in these very large industries.
In alcohol/beer, the addition of Miller gives us additional scale, so up until a year ago you had huge players Diageo and Heineiken and a small third player in Beamish and Crawford. However, with Heneiken taking over Beamish and Crawford, we are now effectively that third Irish player. Our views and actions would take a long term view. I’m not looking for my next promotion within a multinational. I’ve a loyalty to this market which may not be replicated by other people.