Marston's plans to cut range by a third

24 April, 2009

Brewer will retain focus on seven core brands

Marston's is cutting its portfolio by a third as part of a range review in the wake of its takeover of Refresh a year ago.

The aim is to concentrate on seven core brands: Pedigree, Hobgoblin, Brakspear's Oxford Gold, Jennings' Cumberland Ale, Marston's Old Empire, Banks's and Ringwood Old Thumper.

"Those brands represent 80% of our sales and they are the ones that will get

all the marketing support and sales focus," said national sales director James Coyle.

Brands such as Marston's Single Malt, Fiddler's Elbow and Jennings' Bitter and Cockahoop are likely to be among some 10 products that will be cut, along with a number of duplicate pack sizes.

The brewery is planning a ú1 million-plus Summer of Cricket campaign, with details to be announced soon.

Marston's Pedigree has become the official beer of Yorkshire cricket for the next three years, the ninth club with which Marston's has signed official beer status.

The deal includes pouring rights at matches, in-grounds branding, perimeter advertising, and access to players for promotional activity.

Marketing director Peter Jackson said: "It's the quintessential Englishness of both the game and Marston's beers that make this partnership a perfect match as we invest more with our brands in the north of England."

Meanwhile, a strong second quarter in the off-trade contributed to growth in ale volumes of 16% for Marston's in the six months to April 4.

Premium brands drove growth in the beer division,

while standard ale volumes

fell 6%.

In a trading statement to the London Stock Exchange, the Marston's board said: "Although we remain cautious because of the weak economy and generally challenging trading environment, we are well-positioned to benefit from longer-term trends."

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