Price Hike Claims Leave a Bitter Taste… Unlike New Caledonia Best!

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Tennent’s are not planning massive price rises, despite press reports to the contrary. The company issued a statement earlier this month, in direct response to articles which claimed that it was planning to put 30-40p on a pint. John Gilligan, Sales Managing Director of Tennent Caledonian, told DRAM, “We have a rise once a year, as most of our customers know. The press reports centre round a renegotiation of a contract with Matthew Clark, which has led it to raise its prices to customer and associated company, Punch Taverns.”
This in turn led Punch to write to its licensees alerting them to the “significant” rise and urged them to consider other brands.
But says Gilligan, “Our renegotiated deal with Punch Taverns, which involves less than 5% of the pubs in Scotland, should not result in a price increase of the magnitude being alleged and, in fact, it does not follow that there should be any price rise for publicans or consumers.
“We would like to reassure our customers and our drinkers that Scotland’s favourite pint will continue to be available in pubs across Scotland – and at significantly less than £3.50 a pint.”
And the company is not just aiming to keep Tennent’s as Scotland’s best selling lager, it is aiming to take the ale crown too, with the launch of Caledonia Best, a new beer with an ABV of 3.2%. This new mixed gas ale will now be a direct competitor to Scotland’s top selling ale Belhaven Best.
Says Gilligan, “This is an exciting development, and it should come as no surprise to the trade that our priority is to brew and sell our own brands. In Caledonia Best I believe we have an excellent product, which now means that we can offer Scottish licensees, and consumers, not only an excellent pint of lager but a superb ale too.”
As to the question, “Is it not a bit cheeky on the marketing front, with the distinct similarities to rival Belhaven Best and Caledonian IPA,” he says, “That is simply not true. Caledonia Best is a distinctive beer with a distinctive logo entirely different from competitor products. Our branding contains elements of the Tennent Caledonian heritage – reference to our famous Wellpark Brewery; the image of a lion which we registered over thirty years ago in 1980. There is a renewed interest in the ale category and consumers, and the on trade, have a relatively limited choice of “Best” beers to choose from and we are confident that there’s room in the market for Caledonia Best.”
At the launch of the new ale Steve Annand, Commerial MD told guests, “This launch starts a period of dynamic growth for the company. Beer is enjoying a renaissance, and customers are looking for more choice.”
The new brand however will have some way to go, as Belhaven Best is the leading ale in Scotland. Says Euan Venters, Chief Executive of Belhaven, “As the brewer of Scotland’s number one ale, Belhaven Best, we regard the introduction of new brands to the market as further indication of the growing popularity of ale – which can only be good for business. We’re confident that our experience, heritage and focus on quality and flavour will ensure we continue to grow market share and consolidate our market leading position. Belhaven Best is Scotland’s most popular ale with a 37%* and growing volume share of the on-trade ale market. (*CGA Brand Index Ontrade MAT to 6/8/11).
Venters also revealed that Belhaven was currently renegotiating trading terms with C&C, owners of Tennent’s. He told DRAM, “We are currently in negotiations with C&C and will do everything we can to protect both our trade customers and consumers.”
Meanwhile Tennent’s have appointed Kenny Taylor to look after the North of Scotland, and at Belhaven Gordon Smith has returned to the fold. Gordon was formerly MD of Belhaven’s drinks distribution business, before leaving to explore the world, and latterly he was chief executive of Fife-based Kingdom Taverns. Says Venters, “We are very pleased to announce that Gordon Smith has joined us as Sales Development Executive reporting to Graham Baird. Gordon has extensive knowledge and experience of the Scottish market generally and Belhaven specifically and will be a great addition to the already strong Belhaven team.”

Category: News
Tags: caledonia best, hikes, price, Tennents

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