Dual tactics from Threshers

20 April, 2007

Threshers has revamped its beer offering this week, introducing a range of world beers alongside local brews supplied through the Society of Independent Brewers' Direct Delivery Scheme.

Cusqueña from Peru, Lech from Poland, Castle from South Africa and Sam Adams from the USA are among the newcomers which will sit alongside up to four beers sourced from small brewers within 40 miles of the store - including at least one bottle-conditioned offering.

In the next two to three weeks the beers will be merchandised in specialist bays divided by continent with POS material for the world beers. Larger stores will have a four-foot bay while smaller stores will have the broadest range they can fit in.

The four local ales will form a range called Famous for Ales. "We've started at four, but I would like to think that over the coming months that range will grow bigger and bigger," said senior buyer Eleanor Standen, who oversees beer, cider and tobacco.

"People shopping in high street stores want truly local products. Not everybody wants to go and shop in supermarkets, and hopefully we are offering something supermarkets aren't offering. We are going to have 250 ales in the range to start with, and hopefully that will grow," she added.

SIBA is providing each store with leaflets giving tasting notes for the range it stocks, and promoting the environmental and economic benefits of direct delivery by local brewers.

Threshers hopes the new ranges will give it a real point of difference from supermarkets. Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: "The supermarkets are ruining this game. Supermarkets are using lager as a loss-leading liquid which drags people through the door to buy full-price bananas. I don't sell full-price bananas. I've tried it and it doesn't work. We need to offer something to customers based around liquor and based around our core categories."

Threshers is also boosting its cider range with premium bottled offerings, such as Gaymers Orchard Reserve, Brothers Pear Cider and Merrydown Gold. New can multipacks of Gaymers Olde English and Diamond White are also being introduced, while smaller stores will limit their PET offerings.

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