Discounting hurts brewers: Sheps

20 April, 2007

Beer producers are not adding value to the market when they allow their products to be deeply discounted, according to Shepherd Neame's Graeme Craig.

The Kent brewer's sales and marketing director said the company does not allow its products to be sold below cost by retailers because it would damage the brand in the long run.

Craig said: "Yes, we have to add value to the consumer, but I do think there are more ways we can add value than just discounting case deals. The consumer is demanding more value, so we have to play our part within that ."

Shepherd Neame's chief executive Jonathan Neame was due to speak at a meeting between the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and supermarket representatives on the issue of alcohol pricing on April 18.

The meeting, which took place as OLN went to press, was organised to allow supermarket representatives the chance to justify the practice of selling alcohol below cost.

Shep s lists its bottled beer brands in all of the major supermarkets, but Craig said the company was not interested in taking part in price promotions.

He said: "Our off-trade business is up probably about 5 per cent this year in volume terms, that's a good performance ."

Craig said customers' price perceptions were often higher than those set by retailers, so ultimately promotions were driving down the value of the market.

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