Bass clears out premium beers

Bass has axed Moosehead Lager and Schlitz in a clear-out of franchised premium beers to make way for company-owned brands.

The move is part of a rationalisation programme designed to shelve some of the experimental brands which the brewing giant has launched in the past two years. Bass has also withdrawn Caraca, Poker Alice and Wildcat cider.

The company says it has dropped the brands to concentrate on beers such as Grolsch, Czech lager Staropramen and Caffrey’s. However, one observer says: “They haven’t been able to make a success of their premium packaged lagers, so they are trying out Staropramen. The same situation will be repeated in two years time.”

Bass says the rationalisation is designed to “enable the company to concentrate on building its own successful new brands, which can offer genuine Unique Selling Propositions”.

The Moosehead brand – which Bass bought from Whitbread two years ago – will be distributed by Maison Caurette from July 1. Maison Caurette chief executive officer Harry Drnec says: “It is a top selling beer in the US – selling 3 million cases. We have got plans to give it a firm base in this country.”

Meanwhile Bass brand manager for premium packaged lagers David Grint has left to take up the brand manager post for Crookes Healthcare’s Nurofen. He has been replaced internally by Denise Macarthy.

Schlitz is still seeking a distributor. It has been suggested that it could be withdrawn.

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