Aldi steals from rivals to make bottled ale gains

17 April, 2015

Aldi has been the biggest winner in the premium bottled ale market in the past year after stealing shoppers from the big four grocers and rival Lidl.

It increased its share of the category by a third (Kantar, year to February 2015) and took most of its new shoppers from Tesco.

Its strong performance in beer follows news that it increased it is winning the wine wars by increasing value sales of wine by 24% in the same period (Kantar). 

Aldi has won shoppers over in wine by implementing a small but focused range and pushing into premium tiers, and a similar strategy is working in beer.

It is also beating the grocers on price, selling bottles of Newcastle brown ale for £1.24. It costs £1.64 at Tesco and Waitrose and £1.65 at Morrisons. At the budget end that Aldi built its reputation, the discounter is also selling 50cl bottles of Banks bitter at 90p.

It has stolen shoppers from all rival retailers in the past year. 

Its performance stands in stark contrast to Lidl, which was the biggest loser in PBAs in the past year, shedding 7.9% of its market share.

The PBA category is in good health, growing £48 million in the past year to £490 million (IRI and BBPA) and leaving retailers fighting to carve out a greater share of a growing market.

At the other end of the market Waitrose put in a star performance, enjoying a double-digit market share increase, while Tesco remains by far the biggest player.

It accounts for a quarter of the market after growing its share by 1.8% over the past year, having managed to convince Morrisons shoppers to switch to Tesco.

Morrisons’ share of the market dripped 1.4%, losing most of its shoppers to Aldi, but also to Tesco and Asda.

Sainsbury’s had a strong year, growing share by 7% to cement its position as number two in the PBA market, followed by Asda, which grew share by 1.5%.

Paul Warren, senior category manager at Marston’s, said: “UK beer sales in the off-trade overtook the on-trade for the first time this year and PBAs have maintained their position within beer and cider as the fastest growing category.

“The category is continuing to attract new shoppers and it is important to execute appropriate merchandising and promotions while keeping up to date with current beer style trends to engage and excite these consumers.”

The brewer, which recently added Blackburn’s Thwaites to its portfolio, is the number one PBA supplier, having grown value sales by 8% in the past year (IRI, year to February 2015).

It is followed by Greene King, Hall & Woodhouse, Shepherd Neame, Fuller’s, Heineken and then Molson Coors.

Molson Coors has increased its share of the PBA market by 179% thanks to the strong performance of its Cornish brewery Sharp’s.

The only brewer in the top 10 to suffer a value sales decline was Charles Wells, down 4%. 

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