Insights

Beer: Back in the Black
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Beer: Back in the Black

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2013 may have appeared to be the year of cider as the major brewers continued their investment in this area – Lion launched new Orchard Crush Perry and Kirin cider, CUB signed a distribution deal with Kopparberg, and Coopers announced its venture into the category. 2013, however, was also the year packaged beer quietly returned to value growth for the first time since 2009. The campaign push by the industry to “drink less, drink better” has certainly appeared to work – Aussies are now consuming less beer, but spending more on the category.

The premium international and craft beer segments are the underlying drivers lifting the category back into dollar growth. These segments continue to grow at double-digits – incentivising both distributors and smaller brewers to enter the market.

Over the past 12 months, brands like Corona and Peroni helped the premium international segment add more incremental growth to packaged beer than any other segment – a feat achieved for the last four years in a row. Craft beer also saw positive growth as leading brands like James Squire and Little Creatures expanded their range, and as the segment continued its heavy focus on taste and flavour.

On the other end of the beer spectrum, traditional segments like standard full strength almost returned to growth on the back of CUB’s decision to bring back the “Original taste of VB” by restoring the ABV. This was certainly a success story for the category as the brand returned to positive growth for the first time in many years.

The innovation story of the year no doubt goes to Lion’s home draught beer system, Tap King, launched to reinvigorate the beer category for the at home occasion. The multi-million dollar campaign to support the launch has created mass consumer buzz heavily engaging social media sites. The question remains, however, whether Tap King will become a staple of beer drinkers’ repertoire or just a novelty gift item? The most popular beer varieties for Tap King (some selling out at Father’s Day) were Boags Premium and James Squire Golden Ale.

This year should be another interesting year as CCA enters the premium beer market as the Australian Beer Company – a joint venture with Casella – launching brands like Blue Moon, Samuel Adams and the Coors range.