Industry should unite over efforts to educate about all aspects of beer

09 March, 2007

From fixtures to TV ads, brewers and retailers need to do more to educate beer drinkers about celebrat ing the diversity of beer and drinking responsibly, the IBC heard.

Gentler responsible drinking messages - such as a series of ads by Carling encouraging drinkers to "take it easy" - were praised. But Jon Collins, of licensed trade research consultancy CGA Strategy, criticised the Home Office's Invincible ad, which has sparked a number of viewer complaints about its graphic depiction of a drunken teenager falling to his death.

"They always resort to scare tactics. The industry told them that keeping it educational - messages such as 'pace yourself, stay with friends, plan how you're going home' - are what really works. Falling off scaffolding and killing yourself just doesn't ring true with the people who are supposed to be responding to that advert. Another significant waste of money," he said.

Refresh UK chief executive Rupert Thompson said: "We are watching this generation behaving somewhat irresponsibly - we've got to educate the next generation so that they respect beer. We need to get people to savour, explore and appreciate in the way the wine trade has done."

He called on retailers to do more to liven up beer fixtures, and relate some of the stories beer has to tell in leaflets and with visuals. Refresh has seen customers respond well to an experiment with a busier back label, and has also seen members of the Beer Club of Britain trade up to rarer, more expensive beers that come with full tasting notes.

"I think the consumer is much more interested than we give him credit for," Thompson said. "I do think one of the things the wine industry has done has been to make winemakers heroes. We as marketers don't do enough to make the brewers heroes."

Camra's Mike Benner added: "We as beer people should be celebrating the diversity and complexity of the beer market. The beer market is so heavily dominated by global brands that are not leading in terms of innovation - that is all coming from smaller brewers. My view, and it is easy for me to say this because I don't have to sell beer, is there needs to be a co-ordinated generic campaign to do with these education issues. Individual brands can't do it alone, it needs to be done in a cohesive way."




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