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18th May 2023

Old Speckled Hen is Breaking Down the Barriers of Traditional Ale

With the sun starting to show its face and warmer temperatures on the horizon, more people are likely to start getting together and enjoying the brighter seasons in pubs, whether that be with friends, family or co-workers. Greene King believes that traditional ale, and Old Speckled Hen, can play a key part in engaging a wider drinking audience to the category by breaking down misconceptions.

And as no-one has ever said that you can’t teach a fox new things, Old Speckled Hen is continuing to invest in the category through advertising to drive traditional ale to the front of consumer’s minds ahead of summer, especially around its refreshing qualities.

Having researched the barriers of perception with traditional ale, Old Speckled Hen has found that there is a space to engage a wider audience of drinker and encourage guests to ‘try something new at the bar’. Challenging those perceptions in the sector, the traditional ale brand will be showing a series of tongue-in-cheek adverts this May, which include none other than Henry the Fox.

David Spencer, Head of Marketing for Old Speckled Hen at Greene King, shares how the ale brand continues to develop to engage new drinkers to connect with traditional ale.

We are passionate about investing in the sector, with Old Speckled Hen, and our aim is to not only meet our publicans’ needs but our guests’ needs too. We understand that it is vital for the category that we engage a wider audience with the unique flavours we have to offer and we’ve identified what triggers a consumer to drink ale and in turn what acts as a barrier to others.

“We found that consumers had concerns that ale wouldn’t be refreshing, that there was uncertainty about the flavour they’d get, and that the ale category just hadn’t had much to say to them. Yet a few sips, served and enjoyed properly, could dispel all these doubts. We need to break people out of their habits and get them to give ale a try.

“To tackle the key barriers, we created our advertising campaign, which includes two humorous cartoon animations, featuring Henry the Fox discussing the well-known mantra that ‘you should try everything once’. The animations both conclude that a more sure-fire way to reward your curiosity is to spend time in a pub ‘discovering the unique taste of a refreshing Old Speckled Hen’.

“By investing in Old Speckled Hen, we aim to prove our commitment to the ale category and its future, and we plan to deliver hundreds of millions of impressions over the next 12 months regenerating further consumer interest in the traditional product and investing more in advertising than any other premium ale1.With investment in numerous channels, we hope to continue to drive new interest and uptake in the category.

Whilst continuing to invest in the cask category to broaden its appeal, Green King has also recently introduced Old Speckled Hen in CO2 keg form, which provides consumers and publicans with a quality keg option that still offers the complex flavours of the ale, however, is closer in mouthfeel to more modern beer styles, such as lager and craft beer. With plans for Old Speckled Hen to thrive in both formats, the aim is to offer the ale to suit different drinkers’ preferences and provide another route to engage a wider audience.

Old Speckled Hen and Henry the Fox will be on screens until 21st May on Sky and BT Sport.


Notes to editors

1Data provided by NielsenIQ Scantrack YTD to 05/11/22

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About Greene King

Greene King is the country’s leading pub company and brewer with c.2,600 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland.

At Greene King we are passionate about delivering our purpose to ‘pour happiness into lives’. That’s for our customers, our team, our pub partners, our suppliers and the communities in which we live, operate and serve. Founded in 1799 with offices in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and Burton on Trent in Staffordshire we employ around 39,000 people across the group with four divisions: Greene King pubs, Destination Brands, Partnership and Ventures, and Brewing & Brands.

  • Greene King pubs are located where people and communities come together; pubs enjoyed in cities, towns and villages throughout the country
  • Destination Brands is a mixture of food and drink-led brands including Hungry Horse, Farmhouse Inns, Chef & Brewer, Wacky Warehouse, and Pub & Carvery, Pub & Dining and Pub & Grill
  • Partnerships & Ventures includes Pub Partners, which runs our tenanted and leased pubs business and Hive Franchise pubs, and our Ventures Brands which is made up of Metropolitan Pub Company, Hickory’s, Hotels Group and Crafted Pubs
  • Brewing & Brands covers the brewing sides of the business. Quality ales are brewed at the Westgate brewery in Bury St Edmunds and the Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar. Our industry-leading portfolio includes Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen, Abbot Ale, Ice Breaker and Belhaven Best and our premium beers, Level Head and Flint Eye, brewed for the modern-day drinker.

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