Whitbread to target women with machismo-breaking ‘light’ beers

Whitbread Beer Company is planning to create a new category in the fragmenting UK beer market – low-alcohol, low-calorie beers aimed specifically at women.

The company is investigating the introduction of a “light beer” in this country, a concept already well-established in the US and Australia.

John Derkach, Whitbread Beer Company marketing director, says: “We do more than most to appeal to women but there is more we could do. There is still a degree of machismo in the beer market.

“We are actively looking at bringing a light beer here. It would be a new brand on the market.”

Light beers have an alcohol-by-volume content of about 2.5 per cent, compared with standard lager at about five per cent.

They are marketed as drinks that have a good flavour, are refreshing and can be happily drunk by people who do not consider themselves beer drinkers.

Whitbread is already attempting to attract women by putting more of its top brands into smaller 25cl bottles or “stubbies”. Stella Artois and Heineken are sold in this format (MW February 7), and Derkach says Labatt Blue may go into this pack size. The company is also testing initiatives, such as the use of more attractive Stella Artois branded glasses in some of the cafés within the leisure division of Whitbread.

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