BEER, cider and other long drinks play an important role in serving the big-night-in market, and beer has a strong appeal to TV football audiences. The category has become interesting in recent years. Forward-looking c-store operators have noted the niches where convenience operators can score – especially with appropriately chilled and appropriately sized packs of big brand beer that can perfectly meet consumer demand for impromptu nights in.
But there are other niches too. Ahead of the busiest big-night-in period here have been interesting product and brand developments on beers aimed at young adult males, including spirit beers.
Scotland has seen growth not only in no and low-alcohol beers but also in “lighter lager” with ABVs below 3%, which some analysts put down to changes in drink driving laws.
And craft beer is growing to the point where some of the country’s biggest brands have made launches designed to get in on the golden ale act.
Claire Arnott, brand activation manager for beer/off-trade, at Tennent Caledonian Breweries, the owner of Scotland’s biggest-selling beer Tennent’s Lager, reckons the big night in is very much here to stay.
“Tennent Caledonian Breweries sees the increased popularity of the big night in as a long-term change in consumer behaviour, which we expect to continue. Factors including changes to drink-driving laws have greatly increased the attractiveness of the big night in,” she said.
“We are seeing continued demand for Tennent’s Lager, with the five fastest-selling packs in Scottish Impulse all Tennent’s Lager SKUs.
“Tennent’s Lager has the highest rate of sale of any beer brand in take-home. In terms of pack sizes, more than £1 in every £10 spent on lager in Scottish impulse stores goes on Tennent’s four-packs. To meet this demand, operators should ensure there is enough space for our 4 x 500ml and pint-can packs alongside Tennent’s midpacks.”
The firm has expanded its Tennent’s portfolio recently so that it now includes 2.8% ABV lemon-flavoured lager Lemon T and its new premium lager Black T.
Over half of all beer purchases are consumed, at least in part, on the same day, Arnott said. So it’s vital to provide chilled beer able to be consumed shortly after purchase,
She also argued that retailers can benefit from stocking brands that have a strong association with major sports events. TCB’s ale brand Caledonia Best is the official beer of Scottish Rugby, and recently ran on-pack ticket opportunities for the 6 Nations.
The association with sport, and especially with football, is one that is made by many of the biggest beer brands.
Heineken is an official partner of the UEFA Champions League, generally seen as the world’s most important club football tournament and the competition that dominates midweek TV football coverage.
It’s been associated with the competition since 2005 and the current agreement sees it as sponsor until the 2017-18 season. The company said the sponsorship “allowed Heineken to elevate its global status as the world’s favourite beer.”
Other Heineken football connections include the use of former Manchester United star Eric Cantona as the advertising face of its Kronenbourg 1664 brand.
Budweiser is FIFA World Cup sponsor and is beer partner of the FA Cup.
Carlsberg is official beer of the Barclays Premier League and its most recent TV commercial, the latest in its renewed “If Carlsberg did…” series, marks the new football season with “If Carlsberg did kickabouts” complete with former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling.
But if big brands, effective chilling and good choice of pack sizes, as well as football and rugby-connected marketing, colour quite a bit of big-night-in beer there are other things to consider too.
Recent launches from Heineken included the release of Fosters Rocks – two new spirit-flavoured beers.
The firm said Spiced Rum and Classic Rum will be the first flavours in the new Foster’s Rocks brand extension.
Available in a number of sizes including a 4x 500ml PMP marked at £4.99, it’s aimed fairly unequivocally at 18-24 year-olds – an important part of the big-night-in market.
Heineken also recently introduced a new on-pack promotion for Sol, another brand often associated with young adult beer drinkers following what it says is multi-million pound investment in the brand, with the launch of its comprehensive national campaign, #IndependentsDay running on all off-trade four-packs and 12-packs.
Craig Clarkson, category and trade marketing director at Heineken said: “We’re confident the launch of the Local Heroes campaign and on-pack promotion will help to build consumer awareness and excitement around Sol and further raise the brand’s profile in-store.”
While ales and stout don’t match the sales of lager, craft beer has been growing, Guinness and Caledonia Best both have strong rugby connections at an important rugby period and both Guinness, with Guinness Golden Ale, and Heineken, with John Smith’s Golden Ale, are attempting to bring big brands to one of the ale styles of the moment. C-store operators might think about revisiting their ales range as the new big-night-in season begins.