THE beer category as a whole is currently in decline in Scotland, but where there is growth it is being driven by premium segments, according to recent data from IRI.
“Beer is driven by craft ales as people trade up,” said Martin Wood, head of strategic insight, retail for the market analyst. “This is an opportunity for independents to stock more.”
For mainstream beer brands, it appears to be an opportunity to highlight the quality and heritage of their products.
“Consumers are seeking a richer value or experience from what they consume,” said Paul Isherwood, head of off-trade category development at Diageo GB, which recently expanded its Brewers Project range of craft ales with the launch of Guinness Rye Pale Ale.
“They are interested in the stories, ingredients and provenance of products and this is a trend we are seeing across food and drink as a whole, and it is influencing purchase decisions.”
It is a trend that AB InBev expects to continue, with quality playing an increasingly important role for consumers despite the higher price point.
“Consumers are willing to pay more for better quality, premium offerings and using their beer choice as a form of social currency,” said Jessica Markowski, head of trade marketing.
“Stella Artois is the number one premium lager brand in the country and we are proud of our premium global brands including Budweiser and Corona that are also performing strongly.”
The firm recently unveiled a new bottle design for Stella Artois and secondary packaging drawing on the brand’s heritage, which can be traced back as early as 1366 to the small town of Leuven in Belgium.
“The bottle itself has been sculpted to provide a more elegant and streamlined profile, with elevated shoulders to ensure the richly embossed Stella Artois bottle sits above the competition on shelf, while the neck label and gold trim play homage to the brand’s iconic Stella Artois Chalice,” said Markowski.
• Belhaven has won three awards for the quality of its bottled beers at the independently-judged Monde Selection 2016.
Three Belhaven beers were entered in the category of ‘beers, waters and soft drinks’, with strong results that included two gold awards and one silver award. Belhaven Black and Belhaven Wee Heavy each picked up a gold award and Belhaven 80 Shillings scooped a silver award.