This Summer, I noticed in a number of pubs that as I walked up to the bar I was greeted by a selection of bottled beers and ciders in an ice-bucket on the counter.
While an order would undoubtedly have produced a cool one from the fridge, the bucket nevertheless reminds the consumer that bottled beer and cider remains an on-trade option.
Draught beer is overwhelmingly the norm in on-trade beer sales these days but bottled beers are nevertheless responsible for between 10% and 15% of beer sales in the average Dublin pub.
Glass bottles remain the most popular style of packaging and market research provider Euromonitor International has reported that in the off-trade sales of beer can expect a modest Category Annual Growth Rate of 1% to 2021.
While beer has mostly been regarded as a man’s drink, bottled beer and cider is beginning to increase its appeal to women too as the number of females drinking beer has increased in recent years, particularly with the arrival of lighter-style beers.
Geary’s Bar in County Cork’s Charleville is an example, where the female market would favour Coors, Heineken, Corona and Miller, stated proprietor Corina Gough.
“The male would favour Budweiser, Heineken, Corona and Miller, typically drinking a bottle before a meal,” she said.
Flavoured/mixed lager was the most dynamic category in 2016, with total volume sales increasing here by 7%, reports Euromonitor.
However, it should be noted that this was from a relatively low base.
“The category is fairly new in Ireland and accounts for a very small proportion of overall beer sales, with Desperados and Radler being the most popular products,” states Euromonitor, “Desperados benefited from the launch of the brand extension Desperados Nocturno in May 2016, with this being flavoured with both tequila and blended dark spirits.”
Food & bottled beer pairing
Selected insights from Mintel Ireland on the Beer & Cider market were provided in its Bottled Beer report Last July.
Mintel’s report found that some 48% of NI and 52% of RoI consumers noted that they’d like to see more suggestions of beers or ciders that go well with certain dishes.
“Thus, it may be possible to drive RoI usage of beer or cider with meals if these types of suggestions are included on beer bottles,” states Mintel.
“Alternatively, staff in off-trade establishments could be trained to help guide consumers to select beers or ciders based on their meal choices.”
Environmentally-friendly packaging figures among the top claims for beer and cider products launched over the 2016-17 period – with most products coming in recyclable materials such as glass bottles or aluminium cans, states Mintel in the report.
Amongst the conclusions of the report, Mintel believes that, “Given that 45% of NI and 52% of RoI consumers believe that smaller cans or bottles help them to moderate/control their drinking, perhaps the answer is for beer and cider companies to sell their drinks via the off-trade in smaller formats”.
The bottled beer consumer
Both sales and the profile of the bottled beer consumer in the on-trade seems to vary quite considerably depending on what part of the country one visits.
At The Orchard in the Stillorgan suburb of Dublin, sales of bottled beers would account for only around 6% of Conor O’Dwyer’s beer sales and while he admitted that the margin was good, he also pointed out that, “… they can sit on the shelf for a while”.
He sells a bucket of five beers for the price of four when live music is on “… and that goes OK,” he told Drinks Industry Ireland.
However, Corina Gough has a different take on bottled beer sales in her outlet. From her last monthly stocktake Corina found that bottled beers comprised around 13.64% of total beer sales.
She broke this down by brand into:
“Our typical bottled beer customer would be twenty-something to thirty-something,” she told Drinks Industry Ireland, “If a certain product is marketed well during certain periods, we see an increase,” she said, adding, “Also what’s in trend definitely sells.
“Bottled beer is a good way to get new products on board, seeing if they’re worth the space,” she concluded, “Then, if there’s a market for it, maybe move the product to the valuable tap space.”
Peroni Nastro Azzurro, now available Gluten-Free
Peroni Nastro Azzurro has created the gluten-free variant to cater for coeliacs and those choosing to lead a gluten-free lifestyle. The product has been certified and endorsed by the Italian Coeliac Association and will enable even more people to enjoy the crisp, refreshing taste of Italy’s most iconic beer.
Using their extensive skills and experience, the Italian brewmasters have perfected the special gluten-free recipe, involving the use of enzymes to remove gluten molecules without compromising on taste or quality.
Through this process Peroni Nastro Azzurro is able to offer the same delicate balance of bitterness and citrus aromatic notes combined with the refreshing, clean finish which Peroni Nastro Azzurro admirers have come to love.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten-Free is available now in 330ml bottle for the on-trade and 330ml four-packs for the off-trade.
Kopparberg Alcohol-Free is an extension of the premium fruit cider’s current offering. The range meets the evolving attitudes of consumers towards health, which has led to increasing demand for low alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks. Kopparberg has taken three of its most popular flavours, Strawberry & Lime, Mixed Fruit and Pear and made them alcohol-free.
The variants may be free from alcohol but there’s no compromise to the taste.
Kopparberg Alcohol-Free Strawberry & Lime, like its original equivalent, delivers a splash of fresh strawberries and a squeeze of tangy lime, minus the ABV.
According to recent Nielsen data Kopparberg Alcohol-Free Strawberry & Lime is performing strongly at 322% in value terms in the off-trade and 107% in the on-trade.
“We’ve had an extremely positive response to our alcohol-free range particularly in the last few years,” commented Claire Gavin, Brand Manager for Kopparberg in Ireland, “They offer a refreshing alternative for people looking to moderate their alcohol consumption but without missing out on the taste and experience. Our alcohol-free variants provide an excellent opportunity for retailers to capitalise on the growing trend.”
Kronenbourg Blanc est arriveé
Kronenbourg Blanc, just launched, is a light lively wheat beer combining fresh citrus aromas with deeper hints of coriander and clove. A cloudy pale golden colour with a sparkling consistency it’s finished with a light foam head. Kronenbourg Blanc is synonymous with style and elegance in its azure blue curve shaped bottle which shimmers in light and stands out on the shelves.
The blue bottle is indented with the numbers 1664, the year Kronenbourg began brewing and is part of the world-renowned Kronenbourg brand boasting a rich heritage. Brewed in the Alsace region of North-East France, it’s a step towards the fresh new premium flavours and expanding taste-buds of the modern beer drinker. Its citrusy taste makes it the perfect pairing for seafood, salads and berry and citrus desserts.
Well-received around the world, Kronenbourg Blanc launched in Ireland for the first time last August at the bespoke Haddington House in Dublin. For the launch Kronenbourg Blanc partnered with renowned French illustrator Quentin Monge to create four one-off designs based around the brand’s unique bottle and ties with the south of France.