Long drinks… ales and stouts
SCOTLAND is a lager-loving country, especially in take-home. The biggest-selling Scottish take-home lager has sales seven times the amount of the biggest-selling ale.
But ales remain multi-million pound sellers in take-home north of the border and recent trends have been very interesting indeed.
The main brands showed percentage sales declines broadly in line with those suffered by the main lager brands – a creditable performance in a very tough market for mainstream beer. McEwan’s the biggest selling ale should now be in a position to develop new strategies and campaigns after bedding in under the ownership of Wells and Young’s.
Belhaven Best in off-trade has shown some growth and the category now has a competitor ‘Best’ style beer in Caledonia Best from Tennent’s.
But some of the most exciting developments in the top 15s in both ales and stouts came in craft beers.
Nielsen now measures Edinburgh-produced Deuchars IPA as a brand worth more than £1m a year in Scottish take-home, after it achieved 13% growth in 2012’s tough market.
And Arran Blonde, from an ambitious company that has announced plans to develop venues in Scotland, achieved very positive sales growth in Nielsen’s Scottish take-home listings, adding 24% to move above £500,000.
Innis & Gunn and Bitter and Twisted were also up and a couple of English ales in bottle – Hobgoblin and Spitfire – saw sales increase, although Old Speckled Hen saw sales drop.
Once mainly sold through supermarkets, craft ales in bottle are increasingly available through c-stores, discounters and other outlets and have the opportunity to grow still further as distribution through wholesalers, cash and carrys and symbol operations increases.
Other than Guinness, which showed similar decline to leading lagers and ales, stout brands are small, so we show only the top 10.
But there has a been a degree of innovation wit brands like Belhaven Black and Guiness Mid-Strength.
And as in ales a number of Scottish produced craft sales have shown growth, including Williams Brothers’ interestingly named March of the Penguins.
Ales: top 15 – on moving annual total sales at week ending 05.01.13