Widget lager market ‘shaky’ as Sainsbury’s axes Enigma

Guinness’s marketing flop Enigma is being delisted by Sainsbury’s and faces an uncertain future at Tesco amid speculation that the whole “widget lager” category has failed.

Safeway has already axed the premium canned lager (MW March 28), and it is also being ditched by independent grocery chain Londis.

A Tesco source says: “We have reduced the number of stores it is being distributed in. It is under review.” An Asda spokeswoman says the chain continues to sell four-packs of Enig ma and has no plans to delist it.

Despite the poor sales, a Guinness spokesman denies the company has any plans to stop brewing Enigma. “Enigma is performing to our expectations. It remains an important part of our portfolio.” He refuses to say if brewing volumes have been reduced at the Park Royal brewery in West London.

Enigma was launched more than two years ago with an 8m marketing budget, but last June Guinness confirmed TV ads were being scrapped.

Earlier this month Whitbread confirmed it is axing its Newquay Steam widget lager, because of poor sales. The brewer says consumers do not perceive the brands as being refreshing.

Bass continues to market its Carling Premier widget lager, which has achieved better brand value through draught sales in pubs and bars, and benefits from its sponsorship of the football Premiership.

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