S&N taps into lager widgets

21 March, 2008

Brewer hopes its 'smooth' innovation will tempt drinkers to pay a premium

Scottish & Newcastle has introduced a lager widget for cans of Foster's and

Kronenbourg 1664 in an attempt to get value back into the beer category.

The new Foster's can has been


with In-can Scuba and Kronenbourg 1664

has Dynamo Système. They will be on shelves from April 14 in four-packs and chiller-ready 10-packs.

The recyclable widgets, which have been patented by S&N, have been developed to provide a smoother-tasting, less gassy lager. Both variants will cost between 50p to 80p more per four-pack than standard cans.

S&N described the roll-out as the "biggest-ever off-trade product innovation" and believes customers will pay more for cans that contain the widget.

Mark Gerken, sales managing director for take-home at S&N UK, said: "This isn't just a new product launch. It is something very different and more important. It's about canned lager just got better.

"This represents a milestone development for the lager sector as a whole while supporting our category vision for the off-trade and adding value to the alcoholic drinks aisle for our customers."

S&N said previous attempts in the 1990s to launch a widget for lager failed because it adopted the in-can technology used for ales and stouts, which created "an over frothing head".

It will be investing £12 million in the launch, which will be backed by two bursts of TV ads in June and October, an outdoor poster campaign, online and print ads. In-store POS will run with the strapline "the ultimate lager experience at home".

The cans have secured listings in all the major multiple grocers, and customers will

have an opportunity for a refund if they are unhappy with the taste.

But some independent retailers are already sceptical. Derek Clark, owner of Beers of Europe in King's Lynn, Norfolk, said: "I don't think people will pay more for it, they will simply switch to something that's better quality."

The higher price tag will "take it up to the price of properly brewed beer which doesn't use gadgets to make it taste smooth", Clark added.

Andy Skene, of the Pitfield Beer Shop in Hackney, said: "It's all a bit of a gimmick really. They're not going to be lagered for nine days in a cold storage cellar."

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