Talking to Drinks International about the US - one of Peroni’s top three markets - Walker said: “I spend a lot of time now in the US. There has been a rise and rise in [the popularity of] craft beer. It’s obvious that consumers are looking for authenticity and the back-story of beer - and are happy to pay more for it.”
Walker said that the growth in craft beer had also caused a growing “appetite for European lagers in the US – as long as the quality is there”.
Citing Stella Artois as an example of the trend, Walker said: “Stella has grown phenomenally in the US in the craft beer context.”
Walker went on to say the brand would continue to communicate its brand image of “Italian style” through its ‘Four Seasons’ ad campaign in many markets but would also push its credentials as an “authentic Italian beer” in developing markets.
“We’re turning 50 in 2013 and in some markets it’s an opportunity to communicate a message about our brewing tradition, our brew master and attention to detail. In South Africa there is less natural connection with Italy,” said Walker.
In the UK – according to SABMiller’s half-year results leading to September 30 2011 – the brand “continued its solid growth performance”.
According to Walker, the market's consumer evnrionment has "synergy" with Australia – the brand’s third largest market. "If something is working in central London, it’ll probably work in Australia too,” he said.
The brand’s ‘Four Seasons’ ad campaign, already launched in the UK, will be screened in Australia next year.
On the subject of Peroni parent company SAB Miller’s takeover of Foster’s, Walker said: “The deal hasn’t changed the way we market the brand. In Australia – one of Peroni’s top three markets outside of Italy - Foster’s will distribute the brand.”
Domestically, a 2% decline in Peroni’s domestic volumes was witnessed, according to SABMiller’s half-year results.