Boddington’s Export to be axed after poor sales

Whitbread is preparing to ditch its Boddington’s Export brand, launched last summer, after major supermarkets delisted the product.

Boddington’s Export is a bottled version of the draught ale and uses a floating widget. It is stronger than Boddington’s, with an alcoholic strength of 4.8 per cent.

Whitbread billed it as the first launch of an ale with a widget. However, its positioning alongside premium-packaged lagers confused consumers, and it has sold poorly.

Miles Templeman, managing director of Whitbread Beer Company, says: “We are reviewing it. The particular format in the small widget bottle hasn’t been very successful. We haven’t decided whether to continue with the brand.”

Templeman says Export is likely to be replaced by another Boddington’s brand extension, the “hybrid ale” Manchester Gold. He says there are plans to put Manchester Gold into pint bottles with widgets.

At the same time, Guinness Enigma lager is selling poorly despite being the premium lager which spent most (more than 4m) on advertising last year. Supermarkets are delisting the brand’s eight pack and the price has been slashed. According to Stats MR figures, it has achieved a volume share of the premium lager market of only 1.7 per cent, which one observer de-scribes as “respectable, but way be-low Guinness’ expectations”.

See News Analysis, page 21

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