In the last few years, the World Beer and Craft & Specialties category has seen massive growth and this growth seems set to continue.

This category is also driving growth of the super-premium category, as drinkers expand the variety of beers they consume.

The Stella Artois brand tapped into this growth with the launch of Stella Artois Unfiltered.

Sunny Mirpuri, Director for Wholesale & Convenience, Budweiser Brewing Group, tells Wholesale Manager what sets BBG’s brands apart from others and what major trends and developments are affecting the beer category.

What are your key products that wholesalers should be stocking? What sets your brand apart from others?

At Budweiser Brewing Group, we’re proud to brew some of the UK’s favourite beers. To grow our best-loved portfolio of beers, which includes Stella Artois, Budweiser and Corona, we ensure our brands are synonymous with the biggest beer occasions and events. This includes the FIFA World Cup with Budweiser and the Wimbledon Championships with Stella Artois. This gives customers the chance to sell moments, not just beer.

We also have a range of different SKUs that make up our ‘core range’, these have been identified as SKUs that when listed in our retailers they have a very high rate of sale when stocked together and will therefore grow the business of the retailers.

But it’s not just beer where we are investing. Recognising the ever-changing preferences of consumers, we are committed to leveraging the power of our brands and to venture into new categories.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

The World Beer and Craft & Specialties category has been on a huge growth trajectory in recent years and isn’t set to slow down. This category is also helping to drive the super-premium category, as shoppers look to broaden their drinking repertoire. Last year, the Stella Artois family welcomed Stella Artois Unfiltered.

The new launch responded directly to the growth of the World Beer and Craft category and aimed to fuse the accessibility and refreshment of World Beer with the flavour discovery of Craft. Since its launch, Stella Artois Unfiltered has proven a hit with consumers gaining a 2.9% market share of the super-premium segment in 12 months1 and becoming the sixth biggest super-premium beer by volume.1

Additionally, whilst taste may be an overriding factor in purchasing, strong sustainability credentials in product production are increasingly becoming a factor in purchasing decisions. We are proud that our portfolio is now all brewed with 100% natural ingredients in the UK.

To assure consumers of our pledge, secondary product packaging for many products now features a ‘brewed with 100% natural ingredients’ logo and primary packaging features an additional Budweiser Brewing Group logo that reaffirms our commitment to natural, local and renewable brewing. By showcasing our natural credentials on pack we can work with wholesalers and retailers to cater to the eco-conscious shoppers.

Is the beer category in growth, if so, what is driving it?

The beer category continues to be a standout in the alcohol category and this enduring popularity underlines the importance for wholesalers to offer ample beer choices. Currently, the beer category is worth £5bn.2 What’s driving the success of the category is growth in the premium, super-premium and ultra-premium categories which now equates to 77.8% value share of the total market.3

At Budweiser Brewing Group, we brew a range of premium and super-premium options including our global brands such as Stella Artois, Budweiser, and Corona but also speciality brands including Leffe and Camden.

How is no and low-alcohol beer performing?

The no-and-low alcohol category has been going from strength to strength in recent years, growing by 0.3% YoY4. The category is now worth £148m across the Off-Trade category5 and the independent convenience channel alone is worth £27.6m5.

This growth has been fuelled by a growing trend towards healthier lifestyles and mindful drinking. Individuals are increasingly seeking alternatives that offer the experience of enjoying a beverage without the alcohol. With a focus on taste, quality, and diversity, this expanding category offers an inclusive drinking experience for a broader audience.

A key trend we are seeing within the no-and-low category is the increased popularity of well-recognised, premium beer brands. If consumers decide to moderate their alcohol consumption, they tend to start with a brand they already know and love. This is evident in our portfolio with Stella Artois Alcohol-Free growing in total convenience 2.9% over the last year.6

We now offer our best-loved beers in an alcohol-free format including Stella Artois Alcohol-Free, Budweiser Zero and Corona Cero – so shoppers can still enjoy their favourite beers but without the alcohol.

How do you work with wholesalers to help them grow sales?

BEES, a proprietary B2B e-commerce platform, is one way in which we are working with wholesalers to help them grow their business. The integrated order and delivery platform empowers wholesalers with flexibility and insights they have never had before.

Wholesalers can get ahead of the game and order an array of products, earn rewards, gain insights into how their business is performing, and choose delivery dates and times. This puts more power in the hands of the business owners and helps them track their performance better in financially difficult times. Furthermore, the platform has been scaled to include additional offerings, such as e-learning modules that allow business owners to upskill, empowering them further to run their businesses on their terms.

What kind of merchandising support do you provide for wholesalers?

We’ve been working hard to revamp our price-marked-packs (PMPs) offering in the wholesale and convenience channels. Not only do PMPs boost confidence in retailer price points, but they can also give the impression to the shopper that they are receiving a special offer on the product,7 ultimately driving sales. Three in five consumers (60%) believe that the price-marked products they see on shelf are on a special promotion.7

Beer and cider PMPs provide a huge opportunity for convenience stores, with PMP shoppers shopping in convenience more frequently than average and non-PMP shoppers.7 Other additional support we have offered includes depot displays, pallet wraps and in-depot point of sale (POS) during key campaigns and promotional periods.

Every single activation that we will do in 2024 will be accompanied by digital assets that can be used on wholesale digital screens. We’re increasingly seeing that these kind of assets are being adopted more and more by our customers, who are now shying away from more traditional print advertising.

What marketing support do you currently have for your brands?

With the Euro 2024 tournament coming up next year, a major focus for us is gearing up for a big summer. Budweiser continues to be the official sponsor of the England men’s national football team so we will be running a whole range of activations across the grocery, convenience, and wholesale channels, helping to drive sales through exciting initiatives aimed at fans. Watch this space!


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