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UK struggles to place alcoholic ginger beer

UK retailers are unsure how to categorise alcoholic ginger beer, according to Crabbie’s marketing controller Al Cross.

Though the category is witnessing double-digit growth – driven by the Crabbie’s brand – many retailers are unsure whether to categorise it as an ale or RTD.

Cross told the drinks business: “Quite simply, the industry doesn’t know how to categorise us.

“With most of them, we currently sit in the ale category, which is quite nice for us due to the way the drink is manufactured.

“However, I think you should call it a sub-category, if you like. Alcoholic ginger beer is an underground thing that has grown very quickly.

“We have captured people’s attention and have forced the category to change slightly.”

The fact that retailers class the drink as an ale could be a cause of confusion for industry analysts such as CGA Strategy, who classify it as an RTD.

The brand is certainly leading the alcoholic ginger beer category forward, much as Magners did with over-ice cider a few years ago.

Crabbie’s is not resting on its laurels, however. It recently launched Crabbie’s Black, and Cross revealed another major launch is around the corner.

“In the next six months we will see some very exciting developments,” he said. “We are soon to launch a new product that will greatly enhance the category and the brand.”

He also welcomed the arrival of new competitor brands onto the market, such as Ginger Joe.

“It’s brilliant that new brands are coming to the market. It just confirms that there is genuine demand from consumers and can only be good for the category.

For more on the alcoholic ginger beer market, see the October edition of the drinks business.

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