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Sales of bottled beer are set to soar

Added: Monday, February 9th 2015

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More than eight in 10 people working in the beer sector believe the category will grow by 12.8% or more during 2015.  This was one of the findings of new industry research by Somerset-based Butcombe Brewery.

The survey highlights 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.  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 prices will decrease over the next 12 months, while 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 premium bottled ale (PBA) market were varied, with many respondents commenting positively: “Craft ale will expand the category and bring in new purchasers”, while 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.  

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 [brewers] provide profile and understanding. Discounters and promotions can devalue brands” and “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 but the commentary shows a great passion for the category and high confidence in the sector.” 

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

This is the third year that Butcombe 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 who worked for suppliers with 9% working in retailing and the rest in related industries.  

In January 2015  the Liberation Group, based in the Channel Islands, acquired Butcombe Brewery, bringing together two of Britain’s best-known independent brewery and pub companies, which now have more than 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 beers includes Butcombe Bitter, Adam Henson’s Rare Breed Pale Ale and Butcombe Gold as well as a range of seasonal and world beers.