Continuing consumer demand has seen the sector grow 8% by value year on year in the UK off-trade, according to Nielsen figures for the year to August 8. In the off and on-trades combined, world beer is up 17% by value – some £240 million – to £1.6 billion.
If this trend continues the category will be worth £2 billion overall and £500 million in the off-trade by the start of 2014.
Andy Wingate, category controller at Miller Brands, which supplies Peroni, Miller Genuine Draft and Pilsner Urquell, said: “World beers continue to flourish, driving the marketplace in a premium direction and making con- sumers think about what they are purchasing.
“Consumers are looking for an ele- ment of something special. World beer is capturing the public’s imagination.”
There is no concrete definition of a world beer – Grolsch is not considered a world beer by Nielsen but is starting to position itself in that way, Asahi is a world beer but is produced in the UK – but Wingate separates world beer from mainstream lager by its focus on value or volume.
He said mainstream lagers are into discounting and trying to drive volume, while world beers are more about a pre- mium offering, with a distinct story and regional heritage, trying to drive value.
“It’s not the saviour of lager but it’s a positive movement,” said Wingate.
“Tesco stocks mainstream lagers, then bigger world beers like Peroni, San Miguel, Corona, Tiger and Cobra, then discovery beers including Pilsner Urquell.
“These undiscovered brands encourage browsing. This allows people to do positive things, such as matching beers with food from a particular country, like Singha with Thai food.
“We are working with more and more retailers in helping them with their range. You need to offer world beer customers the best possible choice.
“If you can only stock a limited number of brands, don’t keep Corona and Sol. Give up one in favour of Tiger or Asahi – something that gives you more width.
“This helps you give consumers a positive reason to purchase beer, rather than just settling for what is on the shelf.”