A premium boom

Greene King, which owns Belhaven and several more traditional ale brands, highlights premium ale growth.
Greene King, which owns Belhaven and several more traditional ale brands, highlights premium ale growth.

GREENE King is predicting an exciting year for sport with RBS Six Nations rugby this month, the Rugby World Cup in the autumn and The Open returning to St Andrews in the summer.
It reckons consumers will be looking for beers they can enjoy with family and friends at home, and it sees the events as opportunities to grow beer sales and in particular to boost sales of speciality beers.
The group’s Belhaven premium bottled ale range has been repackaged and a version of its cask ale, Belhaven IPA, has been released in a 500ml bottle for the take-home market.
In the past 12 months, the brand has also seen the launch of a range of speciality craft beers.
A Greene King spokesperson said: “Bottled ales continue in their popularity and there are now over 400,000 more shoppers buying into this category than there were a year ago.
“We have a growing body of enthusiastic, knowledgeable drinkers who are looking for a variety of beer styles and often seeking out something different.
“The new Belhaven design emphasises the quality and provenance of the beer and provides more information to appeal to beer enthusiasts.”
Greene King says impulse outlets in Scotland outperform other Scottish outlets and the GB market in general in terms of canned ale sales, but lag behind in bottled ales.
The spokesperson continued: “Retailers can celebrate a real renaissance in Scottish brewing with some great beers coming from established brewers as well as brand new breweries.
“There is a huge opportunity for convenience retailers to capitalise on this growth opportunity.
“Premium ale is the best performing category in beer and cider, growing at 10%, five times the rate of the alcohol category as a whole. It is now larger than standard canned ale and stout combined. The Belhaven brand has launched a range of full-flavoured beers that have developed a following in the on and off-trade.
“To maximise opportunities in the sector, retailers should stock a range of regional and seasonals and increase facings of best-sellers. While there are some regional variances in Scotland, and Scottish beers are popular, golden ales also perform well, as do trusted national brands such as Old Speckled Hen, Newcastle Brown and Hobgoblin.”