Aimed predominantly at consumers between 28 and 35, Island’s Edge will be available in coming weeks as pubs and bars prepare for the reopening of indoor service.
An initial soft launch will see Island’s Edge appear in some 300 Dublin pubs followed by wider distribution later this year. A full nationwide roll-out is planned for August/September.
With this stout launch the Cork brewery aims to rejuvenate Ireland’s iconic stout category and have the brand become a mainstream product. It will be backed by significant marketing investment over coming months including TV, Out Of Home, social and digital advertising as well as in-pub promotions.
Heineken Ireland’s other two stout brands – Murphy’s & Beamish – hold but single-digit shares of the overall stout market – worth €750 in 2019 – which accounts for 25% to 30% of the Long Alcohol Drinks market.
Despite the Lockdown, production of Irish stout grew by 2.2 percentage points last year to 66.5% of all beer production here with off-trade stout sales growing nearly 70% in the year to May the 23rd according to NielsenIQ figures.
“There’s one dominant player and of course we want to take our fair share and invest heavily in it ,” Heineken Ireland’s Marketing Manager Paula Conlon told the Irish Independent recently, “If I was pushed… we’d definitely be looking at north of 10% and that’s probably conservative.
“It’s a very different taste profile” she explained, “and it’s an opportunity to bring the next generation of stout drinkers into the category even though they might not have considered stout in the past.
“This is a mainstream stout for a mainstream audience.”
Development of Island’s Edge
The product was developed in collaboration with consumers and customers over a two-year period.
During the development process, a “hero ingredient” new to stout was discovered – the addition of tea.
“This collaborative approach has resulted in a new brand and product that was built from scratch with consumers and feels progressive and relevant to their lives today, while also resonating with the next generation of stout drinkers,” believes the brewery.
The innovative brewing process was led by Heineken Ireland’s Head Brewer PJ Tierney in Cork’s Leitrim Street brewery.
“When we started developing Island’s Edge we played with over 100 recipes and countless ingredients to see what we could add to stout to achieve a really refreshing taste,” said PJ, “When we discovered that adding a touch of tea at just the right moment softens the bitterness of stout, making it smoother-tasting, we knew we’d landed on an unexpectedly refreshing pint of stout.
“We also kept the heritage of the traditional stout pour but we knew Island’s Edge needed a different type of glass.
“After trying three types, consumers told us they loved the feel of the tall conical glass.”
Tea reduces bitterness in a way that’s “unexpectedly refreshing”, which is completely new in the stout category, he said.
With an ABV of 4%, Island’s Edge is a creamy, smooth stout.
“Island’s Edge offers a modern take on stout with a refreshing taste and a progressive attitude,” commented Paula Conlon, “The unexpected addition of tea to the stout has resulted in a smoother, creamier, more accessible stout which consumers loved in taste tests. As the hospitality sector continues on its path to reopening and consumers make a fond return to their locals, we’re thrilled that a refreshing pint of Island’s Edge will await them.”