As from this spring Amstel is back on British soil. The contracts were signed with the importer, Bulmer's, in September last year. It is not the first time that Amstel has tried to gain a firm foothold in the U.K. Seven years ago Amstel was put on the British market via a distribution agreement with a British brewery, but without success. Heineken is now more optimistic about the chances for Amstel. Certainly in view of the visible ten dency for British consumers to chan ge over from standard lager in the on premise trade towards premium lager in the off premise sector. Which means: drinking less but better and more at home. Different With this tendency in mind, Heineken Export has opted for a dif ferent type of introduction than usual. Normally speaking, the on premise trade is the most natural and char acteristic environment for launching a beer brand. Such an on premise introduction then creates demand in the take home market. However, the growing significan ce of the take home beer market justi fies the new approach, feels Regional Export Director Rees Brandt. But he does not rule out the possibility that Amstel will also become available in the on premise trade at a later date. Market research has shown that British consumers have not forgotten Amstel and see the product as an authentic beer with an Amsterdam heritage. Besides, Amstel is not per ceived as a 'trendy' beer, which Mr Brandt sees as a positive sign, in view of the recent decline in interest for such beers. Premium The British beer market is decli ning and forecasts for the next five years are not rosy either. Experts pre dict that in the years ahead the total market will decrease by 3% to over 57 million hectolitres. This decrease will mainly affect the ales and bitters. The market for standard lagers will remain stable, predict the experts. The only segment where growth is expected is the premium segment. Even disregarding the trendy beers, the premium segment will grow further over the next five years - from 8.7 million hectolitres in 1992 to 9.8 million in 1997. Within this segment extra growth is forecast for the pack aged beers, from 5.6 million in 1992 to 6.7 million hectolitres in 1997. Professional Rees Brandt is very pleased about the cooperation with Bulmer's. "It is a highly professional organisation with a colossal distribution network. Of the 128,000 outlets in the U.R. (on and off premise), they supply 38,000. Bulmer's is also the world's biggest cider producer." As long ago as October last year Heineken announced that Amstel would be introduced in the spring of 1994. That may seem a little early, but it has everything to do with the nego tiations which the representatives of Bulmer's conducted at the end of 1993 with the retail chains. "The account managers at Bulmer's had to make sure that Amstel Beer found its way onto the supermarket shelves. If the forthcoming introduction of Amstel is already known within the trade, that helps the account managers with their negotiations", explains Mr Brandt. The early announcement has in deed borne fruit, since the retail trade showed a remarkably fast willingness to place the product in the stores. 13 THE WORLD OF HEINEKEN

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World of Heineken | 1994 | | pagina 13