Lager sales slip by ‘ten per cent’

Lager sales plummeted by ten per cent in value between 1989 and 1994, according to a new report from Mintel.

The Market Intelligence report says there is little hope of lager sales growth returning to the levels of the Eighties.

A fall in the number of young drinkers, growing competition from wine and the decline of drinking in pubs have all contributed to the drop in lager volumes.

Between 1989 and 1994, the volume of lager sales dropped from 3.18 million litres to 2.95 million litres, a seven per cent fall.

The move towards buying lager to drink at home has wiped value from the market as off-sales are cheaper than sales made in pubs and bars.

But the news is not all bad for leading manufacturers. Lager is increasing its share of the total beer market, and is preferred to ales and stouts for drinking at home. Mintel downplays the threat posed by widget technology for ales.

However, manufacturers have slashed advertising spending by 17 per cent during the past five years, with budgets falling from ú72.7m to ú60m between 1989 and 1994. Advertising as a percentage of sales has dropped from 1.2 to 0.8 per cent.

Carling Black Label continues to dominate the on-trade with a 13 per cent market share, followed by Foster’s with 11 per cent and Heineken at eight per cent. The fastest declining lager has been Skol, with a 40 per cent volume decline between 1989 and 1994. Heineken lost 28 points and Carlsberg Pilsner 26 points. Strongest growth came from Castlemaine XXXX, which grew 25 per cent.

The off-trade has three lagers in top position; Carling Black Label, Carlsberg Special and Heineken – each with eight per cent.

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