Sales not ale-ing for Marston's breweries

Premium bottled ales are on course to achieve £1 billion annual sales by 2020 – with six bottles drunk every second in the UK, Wolverhampton beer and pubs giant Marston's has revealed.

Sales not ale-ing for Marston's breweries

It is the fastest growing beer category in the country with an extra £47 million of sales added last year which took the total to £490m.

A bottled ale report, compiled annually for the Wolverhampton group, which owns five breweries including the city's Banks's Brewery, also found that off-trade sales, including supermarkets and convenience stores, have now overtaken on-trade in both volume and value and now represent more than 50 per cent of total beer sold in the UK.

Paul Warren, senior category manager for Marston's Beer Company, said: "The top 10 premium bottled brands delivered 40 per cent of the category's sales yet only receive 15 per cent of the space in stores.

"Shoppers say that retailers should do more to improve the availability of PBAs as outlined in the report, with 'out of stocks' resulting in 23 percent of lost sales.

"The category 'drive brands' such as Hobgoblin and Old Speckled Hen deliver most of the category recruitment and Marston's estimates that there is a £20m annual sales opportunity if these brands are available all the time.

"The biggest opportunity for growth lies in the convenience channel – we estimate that if range, space and value are correct, then the growth opportunity is worth £104m.

"Shoppers are buying for instant consumption when purchasing from convenience stores and 70 per cent of under-30s consume premium bottled ale straight from the fridge, meaning chilling is crucial, and we shouldn't forget the importance of ranging – big brands and styles are imperative."

Marston's, with 16.5 per cent of total bottled sales of 7.9 million, leads the brewers table. Its sales grew eight per cent last year. Second place is held by Greene King with 14.5 per cent.

Top selling bottled beer is Old Speckled Hen from Morland Brewery with Hobgoblin, from Marston's group brewer Wychwood in second place. Marston's Pedigree, brewed at Burton upon Trent, is 16th.

The report also found that the number of people aged 18 to 34 intending to buy bottled ale in the next year increased by 44 per cent on 2013. In the past five years premium bottled ale sales have grown 75 per cent. New product launches accounted for £28m additional sales last year.

The other Marston's breweries are Jennings in Cumbria and Ringwood, Hampshire.

Marston's has invested £7.4m in a new bottling line at its Burton brewery. One in four bottled beers in the UK are brewed by Marston's.

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