There’s no dodging the draught
Today’s mainstream draught beers run alongside a variegated range of less beefy competitors for consumer attention. These include craft beers, world beers and premium brands, all vying for that consumer brand call. But even with more than 200 choices of draught beer on tap in today’s bars, the standard and premium draught beers are holding their own. Drinks Industry Ireland reports.
12 April 2019 | 0
While draught beer accounts for a much higher volume and value than bottled, research undertaken by CGA in the UK found that seven in 10 lager consumers there nominated draught as their preferred style of serve (57% a pint of draught and 12% a half-pint).
And while speciality and craft lager in draught format was the preference for 17% of consumers, this was dwarfed by standard and premium draught lagers (at 47% and 41% respectively).
Undeniably though craft has reignited interest in draught and bottled beer to the benefit of all segments both in the UK and in Ireland.
Mainstream beer brands remain by far the biggest sellers in the on-trade here with the key draught segment underpinning the brewers’ business and that of the pub. These remain the prime focus for the major breweries while they keep a weather-eye on the growth in demand for craft and world beers.
“Mainstream brands account for nine out of every 10 pints sold in today’s climate” claimed Diageo Ireland’s Category Developments and Insights Manager Jack Harte, “the other ‘pint’ (if you like) is made up of ¼ pint of craft, ¼ pint of premium and ½ pint of value lager.
“It’s important for a pub today to have a range of different beers to meet their customer’s demands but the focus should never move away from the top-sellers; at a 10-tap bar I would limit craft and premium brands to two taps for instance. Mainstream should be the driver of your core draught beer business so it’s important to get the quality consistently excellent.”
Lager comprises 60.9% of today’s beer market with stout being responsible for 33% and Ale 6.1% according to the Irish Brewers Association.
Industry figures suggest that although down by around 2% the humble beer keg currently claims 84% of the beer market and it’s gaining volume share from bottled in the on-trade while bottled formats take up 14% of volume sales with cans taking up the remainder.
But as in the UK, while both draught and packaged beer sales remain in decline (draught is down 2.2% in volume, bottled is down 3.6% and canned is down 0.7% here), consolation can be taken in that draught is declining at a much slower rate than the other formats.
With mainstream beers, familiarity breeds content as consumers will always gravitate to or hover around brands with which they’re familiar. And mainstream brands are where we all came into the market as entry level beer consumers.
So familiar mainstream brands remain vitally important to the draught beer market and remain by far still its biggest segment.
But as we’ve clearly seen, there’s room for newcomers to the draught market too.
Punk IPA is where the BrewDog revolution began
This scene-stealing flagship is an India Pale Ale that has become a byword for craft beer rebellion, synonymous with the insurgency against mass-produced, lowest common denominator beer. Punk IPA charges the barricades to fly its colours from the ramparts – full-on, full-flavour at full-throttle.
Layered with new world hops to create an explosion of tropical fruit and an all-out riot of Grapefruit, Pineapple and Lychee before a spiky bitter finish, this is trans-Atlantic fusion running at the fences of lost empires.
This 5.6% trans-Atlantic fusion IPA is light gold in colour with light caramel on the nose. The palate soon becomes assertive and resinous with the New Zealand hops balanced by the biscuit malt. The finish is aggressive and dry with the hops emerging over the warming alcohol.
This fresh, full flavour natural beer is our tribute to the classic IPAs of yesteryear. The post-modern twist is the addition of amazing fruity hops giving an explosion of tropical fruit flavours and a sharp bitter finish.
Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam, sales are at an all-time high and we don’t see the rebellious Punk IPA slowing down anytime soon.
Drinks Industry Ireland talks to BrewDog’s Martin Dickie
Tell us about your first pub in Ireland
We could not be more excited about not only opening our first bar in Ireland but an ‘Outpost’, a pub with a microbrewery inside! In the vibrant Silicon Docks you will be able to find a 10,000 sq ft BrewDog Outpost complete with two bars and an amazing rooftop garden. The bar will feature 26 taps of world class craft beer showcasing not only our favourite beers from ourselves and our friends around the globe, but also exclusive small batch beers that have been brewed at the microbrewery on site. Those that bring an appetite can look forward to a mouth-watering menu of burgers, wings, salads and more. It truly is the ultimate experience to watch the beer in your glass being made in front of your eyes… We think it’s the perfect entry into Ireland!
Will you have local guest taps here too?
Yes! Guest taps are a big part of our beer offering at BrewDog. We take pride in offering the beer from some of our favourite breweries around the globe alongside our local brewing heroes. Our Dublin BrewDog Outpost will feature two taps that will constantly be devoted to only serving beer brewed by local breweries. These local taps will rotate and are an amazing way to celebrate the vibrant Irish craft beer community!
Why have you gone down the road of opening your own outlets for your product?
What better way to give your beer drinkers the most authentic and quality-driven experience than by serving them the beer ourselves? Back in 2010 we opened our first bar in Aberdeen, Scotland and now have over 80 BrewDog bars around the world. What’s even more exciting is that our Outpost in Dublin will be joining the ranks of our few other amazing Brewpubs: Outpost Tower Hill in London & Outpost Itaewon in Seoul, South Korea.
For us it’s all about creating unique spaces and great atmospheres to showcase amazing craft beer.
You’re going for over 100 outlets this year from 84 – do you not envisage interest in and demand for craft beer plateauing?
No, we truly believe that we are just at the beginning! In the global industry of beer, craft beer is still a tiny part of the market and we think that the craft beer revolution is still in its infancy!
We’ve a number of our own craft brewers opening pubs (eg Galway Bay Brewery). What will make your pub different?
Our bars are unique for a variety of reasons but at the core BrewDog is supported by two pillars: beer and people. Come into any of our bars and you’ll realise that from the beer range, beer quality, dispense systems and team knowledge, beer is what guides our every decision. This can be seen not only from serving the freshest beer (you’ll never see a Punk IPA on draft more than two weeks old!) to having an entire team of trained Cicerone-Certified Beer Servers.
We also know and appreciate that our biggest asset is our incredible crew. At Outpost Dublin you’ll find a team truly passionate about craft beer. We are proud to have people who truly care about creating the best welcoming environment for anyone to come enjoy and learn about great craft beer…. true beer geeks that work crazy hard to create a welcoming and accessible environment to enjoy and learn about great craft beer!
We’re really excited to have Dublin join the very few other Outposts that we have around the globe.
The amazing aspect of these is we can brew small batch beers in the city of Dublin for the people of Dublin.
Carlsberg Unfiltered @ KnockanStockan 2019
Carlsberg Unfiltered, the headline sponsor of KnockanStockan 2019, is back again – bigger and better this year, with a Danish-inspired takeover of the Blessington festival this coming July.
Carlsberg Unfiltered is inspired by Danish values of simplicity and connection with nature and its name reflects how the lager is made.
The brewers have removed the filtration process which leaves more natural flavours and body in the lager and produces a premium, great-tasting, cloudy pilsner with subtle floral and hop notes – unlike anything else in the category.
And the Unfiltered stage is making a comeback where guests can enjoy performance art, unique collaborations, interviews and comedy by day and dance to some of Ireland’s finest DJ collectives by night.
The Carlsberg Danish Quarter
Sit back, relax and soak up the atmosphere the Danish Way. The main bar, the Danish Quarter, hosted by Carlsberg Unfiltered, will overlook the main stage so you can enjoy a few pints whilst taking in the festival atmosphere.
Nestled at the foot of the Wicklow mountains, the site is surrounded by beauty on every side – hills to the rear and the lake to the front.
KnockanStockan plays host to six stages, snug lakeside campsites, fire-pits and a breathtaking backdrop of natural beauty – the perfect accompaniment to a cold pint of Carlsberg Unfiltered.