Greene King is to offer drinkers the choice of two styles of its flagship IPA beer as it begins a trial of a dual-pour "Revolution" font.
The dispense system was originally launched as part of the St Edmunds brand offer in October 2007. However, the brewer believes the new brand plus the new technology, which means the beer could be served in a "southern" or a "northern" style pour, was "too much newness in one package".
As a result, St Edmunds is now being shifted to a cask-only format and the technology moved to its IPA offer.
"St Edmunds has been going out on handpull for the past two weeks, with more than 300 outlets already serving it this way," said managing director Justin Adams. "We were finding conversion rates with the St Edmund concept slow, but the new technology and kit were working. We think by wrapping it around the engine of the business, which is IPA, we'll be able to make more impact and really modernise the cask-beer category."
The brewer, which is investing £1m in the initiative, has already been trialling the Revolution IPA system in 45 outlets within its internal estate for the past six months, and is now rolling it out across the country.
The aim is to get to 2,000 outlets or more by the end of the year, but where the format isn't suitable the brewer will continue to offer and support IPA in its traditional format, Adams said.
PoS with the strapline "Taste the Revolution in Fresh Cask Beer" is in the pipeline, to introduce and explain the concept to consumers. The brewer is also using different terms to describe the two different pours, with the northern pour now becoming "smooth & creamy" and the southern style, "crisp & clean".
The new Revolution system is the latest in a number of initiatives under the IPA brand. In November the ale was given a new look, which focused on the provenance of the beer, and the entire Greene King portfolio gained Red Tractor accreditation earlier this year, again emphasising the beer's local roots.
"This is simply the next stage in the evolution of the brand," said Adams.
Chief executive Rooney Anand told MA: "It's a really exciting new piece of technology — it gives a better taste and creates an exciting customer experience. This is a big investment for us, and it would have been easy in the face of the recession to cut back and not make the investment. But we think it's really important to continue doing things like this if we're to continue to grow consumer interest in beer."