Carling steps up flavoured beer push

Molson Coors has added Red Berries to its Carling Zest range, with the brewer putting £3.5 million of marketing support behind the flavoured beer category in 2014 alone.

Carling Red BerriesThe 2.5% abv Red Berries variant will now sit in the off-trade alongside Carling Zest Citrus, which launched back in 2012 and is now a permanent feature of the Carling portfolio. A number of seasonal variants have also featured, including Winter Berries, Spiced Orange and Ginger.

Hailing Carling Zest as “a stand-out performer in the category ever since its launch,” Jim Shearer, Carling brand director at Molson Coors, commented: “The launch of Carling Zest Red Berries for summer 2014 demonstrates that we are continuing to lead the way in developing this market and exciting consumers with new flavours.”

In order to support this momentum, Molson Coors is investing £3.5m in an “integrated” marketing campaign this year, which the company claims will “drive growth and incremental sales to the category.”

A presentation last year by off-trade data analysts Nielsen picked out flavoured beer as a key area of growth for the drinks trade, drawing a parallel with the flavoured cider category, whose growth has been outperforming traditional apple cider. Flavoured spirits are such as those introduced recently by Jim Beam and J&B whisky are also on the rise.

Many of these products carry a lower abv than their brand’s core range, thereby attracting a lower duty rate, which gives companies the chance to offer competitive prices without compromising profit margins.

Earlier this year Carling made its first foray into the flavoured cider category, just a year after it extended its focus from beer to cider, with the launch of its Carling British Cider Cherry. According to data released in April by Westons Cider, flavoured cider sales have more than doubled in the UK during the last two years, growing from £82m to £217m in the off-trade alone.

Carling Zest Red Berries is available to the off-trade in 4x300ml and 12x300ml bottle packs, with RRPs of £3.49 and £9.00 respectively.

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