SABMiller readies Kozel launch

SABMiller is to launch Czech lager Kozel in the UK as it looks to exploit the growing popularity of lower-strength lagers.

The drink, which has an ABV of 4%, will be launched in draught format in pubs and clubs at the end of September. It will be marketed in the UK by Miller Brands, SAB’s UK and Ireland business.

Kozel, which means ’goat’ in Czech and has been brewed in Velké Popovice since 1874, joins world beer brands Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell in Miller’s UK portfolio.

Nick Miller, managing director of Miller Brands, says: “rigorous and extensive” research found that drinkers are looking for lower-strength lagers.

“Kozel offers an authentic Czech taste, with genuine and distinctive provenance and proposition,” he adds.

Rival AB-Inbev has seen sales grow for its Stella Artois 4% variant and Becks’ lower-strength Vier over the past year.

Miller says it is “working with a retail partner” to introduce Kozel to the UK on trade “to ensure that it is sold, presented and served correctly”.

The drinks maker is looking at ways to grow the world beer sales after seeing recent growth in the category.

According to Nielsen, world beer sales in the off-trade increased by 20% to £237m in the year to 10 July against flat sales for “everyday” lagers such as Foster’s and Carling. In the on-trade, sales increased 3% to £795m against a 4% decline for everyday lagers.

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