Drinkers no longer give a XXXX for old favourites

THEY’RE the beer brands locals have turned to for decades to quench a thirst or celebrate the end of a hard day’s yakka.

BRAND WARS: Longyard Hotel barmaid Holly Schultz pours a cold, frosty one at the pub on Friday. Publicans and club managers say traditional beer brands like VB and Carlton Draft are losing market share. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 230514GOE01

BRAND WARS: Longyard Hotel barmaid Holly Schultz pours a cold, frosty one at the pub on Friday. Publicans and club managers say traditional beer brands like VB and Carlton Draft are losing market share. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 230514GOE01

But an increasingly bloated beer market and the fickleness of the younger generation is threatening to topple traditional brands like VB and Carlton Draught, according to just-released figures.

Brewing giant SABMiller last week revealed three of its top Australian brands recorded falls in volumes over the past year as “competitive intensity”, economic uncertainty and weak consumer sentiment hurt the company’s share of lager.

And local publicans and club managers say the pattern is being repeated locally.

“The older drinkers that have grown up drinking a certain brand won’t change no matter what,” Wests League Club chief executive officer Rod Laing said.

“But the younger drinkers will swap brands based on taste, price or marketing.

“There’s no loyalty anymore and we’re certainly seeing that at the club.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released in April found Australian drinkers consumed less beer in 2013 than they have in the past 67 years.

ABS figures also showed cider consumption rising to about double what it was four years ago.

The Pub Group manager Craig Power said craft and low-calorie beers were making solid inroads into the market locally.

“At the end of the day it’s all about marketing and every company is fighting against the others for the next big product,” Mr Power said.

“When I started out in the industry there were only four beers and now you could easily have 30 on tap if you wanted to.

“A lot of non-beer brands are pushing more for the younger market and towards ladies.

“But all that said, beer is still the number one drink at pubs out here in the country.”

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