Diageo widens beer range

29 April, 2010

Diageo GB is planning to extend its beer portfolio beyond Guinness.

The first beer to be launched this week is Namibian beer Windhoek, which will join the market-leading stout in Diageo's range.

The brand will be supported by a £700,000 marketing investment, which will include cinema tie-ins and outdoor posters around London and the south east depicting landscape shots of Namibia.

The 4% abv lager marks the first foray into world beers for the drinks giant in the UK, which is hoping to widen its beer portfolio to cash in on changing tastes in consumers.

Richard Barlow, marketing manager for packaged beverages at Diageo GB, said: “We looked at how we could develop the beer portfolio outside Guinness and enter other categories where there is consumer momentum.

“The world beer market is worth £243 million in the off-trade and there are big opportunities. We have distribution rights for 17 beers around the world, including Red Stripe, Tusker, Kilkenny and Smethwick's.

“Our plan is to build up a portfolio of more than three beers in the next two to three years.”

He said the launch of an African beer wasn't just about making money from the World Cup.

“Africa is really under-represented and there are no major beer brands that are well distributed in the UK.

“The World Cup is a hook but our ambition is to grow the brand for the long-term.”

He said Windhoek should appeal to 25 to 45-year-old men who were interested in the heritage and provenance of beer.

"Stella 4% and Beck's Vier have meant that lower abv beers have become more normailised," he added.

Windhoek has listings in Tesco, Asda and Morrissons. The rrp for a four pack of 33cl bottles is £4.29 and Barlow said there were plans to bring out a 24-pack and a 64cl or 66cl variant.

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