15 January 2001

Premium Beers a Hit This Summer

An upsurge in premium beer sales over summer has confirmed the Australian beer market's growing interest in premium and imported beers as well as CUB's leadership of the sector.

Mr Paul Kennedy, VP Marketing for Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), Australia's major brewer and largest importer of premium international beers, said the trend was no overnight phenomenon. "Premium beer purchases have been growing nationally over the past five years at close to 20% year on year," he said.

"A significant upsurge in sales over this Christmas period encouragingly suggests that more Australians decided to celebrate the Christmas and holiday season with premium and imported beers."

Mr Kennedy said that Crown Lager remained "clear and away" the nation's preferred premium beer continuing its growth of many years. "More than one in four premium beers consumed in Australia is a Crown Lager."

"Over the Christmas period, sales of Crown Lager have exceeded the previous record which was last year with millennium celebrations. We are very pleased that we have beaten this record," he said. "A key driver of this recent sales record was the Crown Lager celebration 12 pack that helped lift pre-December sales for this brand by more than 40% on last year."

"Additionally, the brand's partnership with the Australian cricket team has created great media coverage through support from the record-breaking test team."

CUB's stable mate to Crown Lager, Cascade Premium Lager, has also recorded a massive boost in sales of over 60% on its December sales over last year.

"We attribute this upsurge in support for Cascade Premium to the new look for the brand and the new promotional campaign behind it. Distribution of the brand grows daily," he said.

Imported beer sales are growing in parallel with the interest in domestic premium beers. Imports like Corona, Stella Artois, Miller Genuine Draft and Asahi Super Dry, all distributed by CUB, have proved very popular so far this summer. Corona is the biggest selling international packaged beer brand in Australia and is growing rapidly. A range of "summery" themed promotional activities is driving sales of Corona over summer.

On the growth of the Australian premium sector Mr Kennedy noted that the premium beer market in Australia is now about 140 million litres, which equates to 10 litres per Australian aged over 18.

"There remains enormous potential to grow this sector. Interest in these beers is being driven by a growing group of consumers described as "grazers" who experiment with premium and imported brands on different occasions," Mr Kennedy said.

"Premium beer sales are also growing because consumers increasingly prefer them when they go out somewhere special, like to a night club or to a restaurant - or when they are celebrating a special event."

Further information:

David Park
Tel: +613 9633 2259
Mob: 0418 159 231
Email: david.park@cub.com.au

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