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Drinkers turning off the tap

Wednesday, 28th May, 2014

The Black Lion Inn’s Leonie Luke said each beer has its own devotees, after research showed traditional brands were now less popular. The Black Lion Inn’s Leonie Luke said each beer has its own devotees, after research showed traditional brands were now less popular.

Beer drinkers are shunning traditional brands like VB, Carlton Draft and Crown Lager because of high-end competition and less demand for tap beer.

Brewing giant SABMiller said three of its top Australian brands recorded falls in volumes over the past year as “competitive intensity”, persisting economic uncertainty and weak consumer sentiment hurt the company’s share of lager.

The company also said that pub drinkers were turning their backs on once-popular tap beers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures found Australians drank less beer in 2013 than they had in the past 67 years.

Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence suggests craft beers are gaining favour over mainstream brands.

Local Australian Hotels Association delegate Dean Trengove said it was not just the beer market, but the spirit and wine markets.

“People are consuming less by volume, however are trading up to more expensive areas of the relevant product ranges,” Mr Trengove said.

He said innovation in the beer market with the various light and mid strength varieties, as well as the more contemporary dry styles and low carb variations, had changed the market.

“As new products come on the market, brewers are reluctant to rationalise by deleting older styles or brands, as they would be concerned about maintaining their market share of existing customers.

“Another effect on the total volume of alcohol consumption is the continued and increased over-regulation of licensed venues by governments and bureaucrats - to the point where some people don’t bother to go to licensed venues anymore as they either can’t smoke, can’t shout, can’t laugh or be too boisterous, can’t listen to live music or generally do things that are in some states or countries are completely acceptable.”

Black Lion Inn owners Geoff and Leonie Luke said traditional beers like VB were good commercial sellers for people on a budget.

“You can get a carton of 30 for $48,” she said. “Mid-strength and low-carb beers are also very popular.” -BDT/AAP

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