Hall & Woodhouse Annual Premium Ale Insight Report – BOTTLED ALE IS BOOMING: MARKET DRIVEN BY A YOUNGER & MORE FEMALE DEMOGRAPHIC
· Bottled ale market value grown 60% in the past 5 years
· 1.5 million more customers buying bottled ale than in 2011
· 11% sales growth in the last year
· Driven by consumers increased desire for quality & provenance
With double-digit growth for yet another year, Bottled Ale remains the star performer of the beer category. With over 60% growth in value over the last 5 years and attracting 1.5million new customers, the profile of the bottled ale customer has fundamentally changed.
With a much younger profile – over a third are under 36 – and a more female demographic with 32% being women, there have been some significant changes since 2010. Bottled Ale customers now have a better understanding of brewers, ale styles and ingredients and consider the heritage of breweries and authenticity of ales to be important when choosing ales.
As the Bottled Ale market has evolved, both in bars and in store, customer tastes are similarly evolving and becoming more adventurous. They are seeking out new products and exciting flavours across the Beer, Wine and Spirits category and with progressively more Bottled Ale customers becoming informed about and engaged in the category, they are keen to experiment with what they’re buying and drinking.
Is Bottled Ale Delivering What Customers Want?
However, Bottled Ale is not developing in the same way that other BWS categories are, where new innovative, authentic and premium brands are attracting customers and driving value sales. Within bottled ale, product development has to fit within fairly narrow constraints of level pricing and promotional activity, making it more challenging for brewers to truly innovate.
Shoppers have become more promiscuous, with bottled ale less likely to be their main drink of choice, meaning that the category has to work harder to hold customers’ interest, deliver excitement and remain relevant. Many customers are still looking for guidance when browsing for Bottled Ale and as a result often default to using promotional activity to guide their decision.
Melinda Bowles, Category Controller at Hall & Woodhouse says of the reports findings: ‘Consumers are increasingly faced with a perceived ‘sea’ of uniformed brands, with little to help them navigate the fixture to find something different. The solution seems straightforward; develop a tiered range within bottled ale, highlighting brands offering a point of difference, be it specialist brewing techniques, unusual ingredients or a unique style and flavour. This would give retailers the opportunity to differentiate their range and drive category value growth, whilst allowing brewers to develop the new, exciting bottled ales that customers are looking for.’
· This PAIR report is published by Hall & Woodhouse Ltd. Written from a non-biased category perspective, it is produced to raise the profile of premium ale across the retail trade and help drive sustainable, long term value growth.
· To view a copy of the PAIR report, please click this link.
· Hall & Woodhouse have been brewed in the heart of the Dorset countryside since 1777. As one of the leading independent brewers in the UK, Hall & Woodhouse is well known for its range of award-winning ales brewed under the Badger brand and its network of public houses throughout the South of England. The brewery is now managed by the seventh generation of the Woodhouse family.