Big brands retain their appeal amid all the innovation

Big Number: 54 per cent of UK adults have drunk lager in the last six months

Despite the boom in craft breweries and a plethora of beer styles hitting the market, the big lager brands remain popular.

According to a survey of 1,944 adults, commissioned by Mintel, 43 per cent of beer drinkers still prefer the beer brands they usually buy, with 34 per cent stating a preference for well-known breweries over smaller ones.

As a result, lager still accounts for almost three-quarters of the value and volume of the overall beer market when you combine on- and off-trade sales.

Low and no-alcohol lager is a growing opportunity for the category, as new research from mega-brewer AB InBev shows – pointing out that nearly a third of British people have now tried alcohol-free beer.

Moreover, one in 10 women enjoy it on a weekly basis and 18 per cent of Londoners drink it whenever they go out.

A spin-off of this has been the launch of a raft of lower ABV fruit-flavoured beers, such as Carlsberg's successful Carlsberg Citrus and San Miguel 0.0% Limon variants. These are proving a growth area for lager, broadening the category's appeal and drawing in new, younger and more health conscious drinkers.

So-called speers (spirit beers) are also providing a fillip for a category that has in previous years suffered from a lack of innovation. Heineken's Desperados brand continues to perform well and the brewer launched Foster's Rocks, in Spiced Rum and Classic Rum flavours, last year aimed at 18 to 24-year olds.


Supplier's eye view:

Carlsberg comment


Click on the links to see our other category reports:

Cider: the bubble has truly burst

Wine: Italy is shaking up the fizz category

Soft drinks: more and more important to pubs

Spirits: US whiskey and rum make a splash

Cask Beer: Craft boom brings some zest back to the pub stalwart


Statistics: Mintel