Bulmers makes the move to Smooth

Caledonia Smooth, a new nitrogenated draught ale from Bulmers was launched in The Palace Bar in Dublin recently.

In only being available in draught format, Bulmers is making its support for the beleaguered on-trade clear, says Stephen Kent, Director of Marketing and On-Trade Sales at Bulmers Ltd (part of the C&C Group plc).

Only available in Ireland, 4% ABV Caledonia Smooth emanates from the Tennents stable in Glasgow’s Wellpark Brewery – but this could all change to Clonmel if Bulmers can drive volume to significant levels, he says.

He’s right. There’s certainly no lack of capacity in Clonmel following the ill-fated expansion work undertaken to optimise what transpired to be less-than-expected sales of Magners in the UK following the economic downturn.

Caledonia Smooth now follows Bulmers’ other beer brand Tennents (a value offering which now in 1,400 outlets here) into the Irish draught beer market.

The final presentation of the product followed research among 250 consumers.

“Our research has shown that 80 per cent of consumers would try the product again, which has given us great confidence,” he explains, “We are really excited about this new refreshing alternative to stout, ale and lager_ and we call on you too to ‘make the move to smooth’.”

Caledonia Smooth’s target market is the 28 to 44 year-old, a category that enjoys a pint, has a mature set of taste buds and will take something different in beers.

Using the tagline ‘Make the move to smooth’ Bulmers will commence a series of ads on outdoor and radio as well as on-trade sampling in the short term which it intends to build into a national campaign over the next few months, “… building it up from there as we go into the cities,” explains Stephen Kent.

Caledonian Smooth is being supplied in 50 litre kegs and is expected to retail at an RRP much the same as that for stout and ale, “…. around €4”.











Stephen Kent, Director of Marketing and On-Trade Sales at Bulmers Ltd, talks to Pat Nolan about Caledonia Smooth:












I’m not alone in thinking that Bulmers is being very brave in launching a nitrogenated ale on draught at the moment – particularly with Kilkenny Irish Ale already on the Irish on-trade scene to a limited extent. What makes you think that there’s an opening for it in these troubled times for the pub trade?

We’re famous for Bulmers whose market is 18 to 24 year-olds and on up to 35 year-olds, so we’ve been trying to broaden our portfolio with brands like Tennents for the last couple of years and now we’ve Caledonia Smooth.
We’ve had a lot of success with Tennents with up to 1,400 outlets now selling it on draught in the value beer segment. We’ve pockets in North and South Dublin for the brand which retails at around €3 to €3.50. Then we’ve the rest of our beer portfolio, the Continental brands such as Staropramen etc.
We did lots of research on this as we’re trying to get a foothold and a position in beer that’s slightly differentiated.
The pub market is still evolving with a number of people entering the pub demographic as well as a lot of people between 30 and 44 still going to the pub, looking for choice.
We researched 250 consumers to find that some don’t drink lager all year round – of which Bulmers would be a beneficiary….. Others might end up drinking stout but they couldn’t session on it for too long.
Somewhere in the middle we ended up finding this category for beers so we went back into it, reformulated and researched this beer for a couple of months. We tried different variations, formulations and ABVs and ended up finding out that a lot of people were looking for a product that was less gassy and slightly more ‘sessional’ but still good beer value.
We own this brand directly, as we do Bulmers and Tennents.
If we can grow them we obviously in time can brew them in Clonmel, given a sufficient scale of sales and take-off for both brands. Clonmel has a lot of capacity but at present all the Master Brewers are based in Glasgow.
Caledonia Smooth’s target profile is the 28 to 44 year-old who enjoys a pint, has a mature set of taste buds and will take something different in beers.
Some people don’t want a taste that’s too sweet, others not too bitter, so we’ve ended up with a product that has roasted malt flavours and is actually quite smooth, thus our proposition ‘Make the move to smooth’.
We feel that this is a place that we can fit in.
In the short term we’ll be running ads on outdoor and radio and sampling campaign in the on-trade which we’ll build into a national campaign over the next few months and build it up from there as we go into the cities.

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