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11th February 2015

Industry Confidence Soars for Premium Bottled Ale Sector Butcombe’s Annual Survey Reveals


More than 8 in 10 people working in the beer sector, believe that the category will grow by 12.8%* or more during 2015.  This was one of the findings of a new piece of industry research by Butcombe Brewery which has just released the results of it annual survey.


The survey highlighted the inconsistencies of current beer category labelling, showing that the majority – 65% – of respondents preferred ‘Premium Bottled Ales’ to other labels such as ‘British Beers’ or ‘Speciality Ales’.  Commentary suggests that the sector would benefit from the same definition by all parties. Regardless of the product labelling debate, nearly all (90%) of respondents believed that the space given to the category would stay the same or increase.


As far as pricing is concerned, the survey shows that 30% of respondents believe that prices will decrease over the next twelve months, whilst half of the sample suggested that pricing would remain the same and 20% or those asked predict an increase in price.


Views regarding the impact of ‘Craft Ale’ on the PBA market were varied with many respondents commenting positively for example: “craft ale will expand the category and bring in new purchasers”, whilst others believed: “Craft ale will steal bottled ale space but won’t deliver on sales as expected”.


The survey also revealed that stocking local /regional ales and multi-buy promotions were considered by respondents to be the most important factors regarding selling-in product ranges.  Just over half of respondents felt that the bottled ale category should be merchandised by style. Just over a third (37%) felt that merchandising by brewery was important.  Interestingly, merchandising by price was least preferred with less than 5% selecting this option.


When asked which retailers, wholesalers or brewers were having a positive impact on the PBA sector and the reasons for this, responses included:


“Big four provide profile and understanding. Discounters and promotions can devalue brands”, “Butcombe surveys important source of information, reference retailer dynamics and brewery tactics”, “Independent, specialised bottle shops are having a positive influence”.


Martin Holland, Off-Trade Sales Director for Butcombe comments: “I’m delighted with the high response rate of the survey, not only is the quantitative information illuminating but the commentary shows a great passion for the category and high confidence in the sector.”


The annual PBA survey is part of Butcombe’s monthly Premium Bottled Ale report which is issued to all key decision makers and buyers.  The Brewery also has a UK Bottled Ale Group on linked-in, Facebook and twitter.


For further information visit or follow Butcombe Brewery on Facebook at Twitter:

– Ends –


Notes to editors:


*Nielsen Scantrack 52 weeks to 22.6.2014


This is the third year that the Brewery has undertaken its Premium Bottled Ale (PBA) survey and respondents included: Butcombe suppliers, retailers and wholesalers.  It was conducted during December 2014 and January 2015 and surveyed 82 respondents, 80% of whom worked for suppliers with 9% working in retailing and the rest in related industries.





In January 2015 The Liberation Group acquired Butcombe Brewery, bringing together two of Britain’s best-known independent brewery and pub companies, which now have over 90 pubs, bars and eateries, two breweries brewing over 30,000 barrels of award winning beer as well as retail and wholesale operations employing more than 750 staff.


Butcombe’s core range of cask-ale beers includes: Butcombe Bitter, Adam Henson’s Rare Breed Pale Ale and Butcombe Gold as well as a range of seasonal and World Beers.Long Ashton Cider Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Butcombe Brewery Ltd which produces two highly successful brands:  Ashton Press Cider and Ashton Still Traditional.


For further press information or copies of the survey conducted on behalf of  Butcombe Brewery please contact:


Gill Shaffer

Mint Communications

Mobile: 00 44 (0) 7958 989124

(00 44 (0)17992 18353 *


Date of issue: 9 February 2015

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