Heineken UK on trade managing director, Lawson Mountstevens and category and trade marketing director, Andrew Turner, outlined this week some of the issues facing pubs and bars in the UK and what the company plans to do to help.
According to its research, beer drinkers are now 35+ and one of the challenges for the category is to drag 18 to 24-year-olds back to beer. Lager, which was once chosen in favour of bitter, ales and stouts, is now perceived as “your dad’s drink”. Cocktails, once the choice of the glitterati, are now ‘where’s it at’ for younger drinkers.
Heineken’s research also identified the move to premiumisation and the shift to sweeter palates. Hence flavoured vodkas, exotice gins, whiskey with honey and fruit ciders.
In response Heineken Uk has introduced a new Desperados variant - Verde – the tequila flavoured lager now has a twist of lime and mint - so Mojito flavoured.
It is also introducing its own fruit ciders as a response to the success of the Scandinavian ciders, Koppaberg and Rekorderlig. Old Mout is a New Zealand brand and ciderie that Heineken owns. The new brand with its flavour variants - summer berries, passion fruit and apple and kiwi and lime – are made in Belgium.
So, men congregating will still gravitate towards drinking beer, according to Heinken’s research. But in a mixed group, beer loses out to the likes of cider, cocktails and wine. To cover off people who are driving or just want less alcohol, Heineken is also extending its Foster’s Radler range of 2% abv beers with a lime & ginger variant and a 0.0% version.
To encourage people to forsake drinking cheaper drink at home, it has launched an innovative initiative called “Our Shout”. Heineken will help sort out a pub’s website, organise local press advertising arrange for it to have wi-fi and assist organising social networking. Obviously the outlet has to commit to taking Heineken products.