Brewer Greene King is launching its first bottled English speciality beer in a bid to appeal to younger drinkers who prefer lagers to ales and stouts.
The ale brand, called Hop, is set to launch this month and will be available in 750ml bottles. It will be aimed at the 30-something male. The drink has a 5% alcohol by volume (ABV) and will sit alongside speciality beers from Europe.
A sampling activity will support the launch throughout the summer although further marketing plans for the new brand have yet to be revealed.
Greene King Brewing Company marketing director Fiona Hope says: "We talked to our target drinkers about their thoughts on the category. Our findings show there has been a lack of modern stylish English beers on the market to compete with the continental beers.
"In a year where market analysts AC Nielsen reported no growth in wine sales for the first time, we believe speciality beer sales will grow even further."
The speciality beer category is worth £81m and has grown in value by 29% in the off-trade market over the past year and 7% in on-trade over the same period (AC Nielsen).
Ales and stouts are traditionally consumed by older drinkers although brewers have increasingly tried targeting lager drinkers with launches such as Inbev’s Leffe.
Greene King’s portfolio of brands already includes Greene King IPA, Abbot Ale, Old Speckled Hen and Ruddles County.