The last few years have been bruising for the lager market. The category has been in decline due to a number of factors. Younger drinkers are becoming more conscious about how much they drink (see the rise of the Low & No category) and, at the same time, are influenced by the emergence of craft beer.
Those who are choosing to drink beer are becoming more discerning in their tastes. To compound this, people overall are choosing to drink less.
Consumer perception of lager hasn’t helped either. Where craft beer is sold in distinctive packaging, explores unusual flavours and is seen as a drink for younger and more diverse consumers, standard lager hasn’t really moved on and is still seen as a flavourless, bland and blokey drink - a drink without much to say.
Here are three brands trying to tell more interesting stories.
Carlsberg have been getting plenty of publicity with their new ad campaign, finally accepting what the rest of us already knew - that they didn’t really make the best lager in the world.
But beyond the release of the new Danish Pilsner, Carlsberg also created a limited edition Red Barley beer to celebrate their longstanding partnership with Liverpool F.C. (the longest partnership in the Premier League).
Over 2000 bottles of the special beer were given away to Liverpool fans during their match at Anfield against Huddersfield, but demand quickly outstripped supply leading to over 400,000 fans from all over the world taking to Twitter to track down a bottle for themselves.
Such was the demand that Carlsberg listed the product on their online shop, driving an increase of 800% in normal traffic to the site.
It may have taken a year to crack the process of creating the Red Barley beer, but do Carlsberg think it was worth it? Probably.
The 1969 moon landing is one of America’s greatest historical achievements, and as a brand that sees itself as a cornerstone of American culture, Budweiser have created the Discovery Reserve lager to commemorate it.
Brewmaster Karissa Norrington, a former U.S Air Force captain, developed the beer alongside an archival recipe the company used in 1969 when Neil Armstrong was taking his first steps on the moon.
Beyond the new recipe, the packaging also references the anniversary. Budweiser say, “the 11 stars represent the Apollo 11 mission and the alternating bottle caps represent both our footsteps on the Moon and our next frontier, Mars.
The historic Anheuser-Busch A & Eagle logo has also been updated to reflect the red planet with Planet Earth showing within the background.
Finally, each bottle of Discovery Reserve features wings and stars inspired by the original Budweiser cans.”
Earlier this year, Carling returned to TV for the first time in 2 years with their ‘Made Local’ campaign, focusing on their team at Burton-on-Trent as well as people up and down the country who are working to improve their local communities.
Whilst the ads are a nice change of pace from the last campaign (It’s good, but it’s not quite Carling) there is something bigger going on in the shape of the ‘Made Local’ fund.
The ‘Made Local’ fund is a multi-million pound three-year initiative by Carling, which so far has worked with young artists in Rotherham, North Sea Surfers and a Swansea punk band with more projects to come.
Each project has an accompanying documentary so you can learn more about the community and the people involved.
It’s great to see three mainstays of the lager market really upping their game at a time when the category needs it most.
Consumers are looking for more from brands than just what they make. They want them to have a point-of-view on the world. Whether that’s a desire for innovation, a connection and respect for history and culture or pride in local communities, it pays to stand for something.
SEEN. has been compiled this month between our Senior Account Manager Matt & our PR & Marketing Manager, Emily.
Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge their cultural knowledge? You can drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.