Five -minute focus

James Coyle, sales director for off-trade, on-trade and export, Marston's

Merchandising beer

We have interviewed about 2,000 consumers about how

to merchandise bottled ales. We put 50 beers on a table with shelving

and asked consumers to put them together and merchandise them - and almost 50% came back very consistent

and merchandised

by style. What also came out very strongly is not to put cans and bottles side by side. Because of the number of products there is a trade-down effect happening in bottled ales.

Women and beer

If you are too overtly targeting women, you fail. What a woman wants is a real beer, a beer that a bloke would feel comfortable with - it

has got masculinity and it is a proper beer, it is not one of those twee, patronising beers. Yorkie's It's Not for Girls campaign is interesting, more women are probably eating Yorkie bars because of that.

PBAs in independents

What is really disappointing is that the independents

are always a bit slow  picking up on the trends, there are still a lot of independents that have probably only got Newcastle Brown Ale

[in their PBA range]. I think it is a missed opportunity for a lot of independents.

If they are going to have a limited range because of space I would recommend Newcastle Brown Ale, because it is the number one,

a local beer, plus another one of the

top-five brands.

Beer prices

Wine has a massive price band, ranging from £2.99 to hundreds of pounds. We really want to push the

£2-5 barriers for a bottle of beer, and that will come through product innovation in terms of styles and a lot of different things we can do so that the consumer can see the value in what we are doing.

Minimum pricing

There is talk of minimum pricing in Scotland. It happens in lots of other countries around the world and it is not abused. I do think there is a symbiotic relationship between the on and off-trade, and there needs to be a much more healthy respect

for the two . Both parties, the on and off-trade, have got a role to play in responsible drinking.

The government's stance on alcohol

The message

they are trying to project is

correct in terms of moderation , but a lot of people might have three or four pints in a typical evening. If you have three pints, are you a binge-drinker? Well no, most people aren't. The language that is used

may be of the wrong tone. And if people say "I'm not a binge-drinker, that element of the communication is wrong",

then others might think

all communication is wrong, and the whole message

being portrayed about moderation is probably not going across.

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