Interbrew UK is targeting freetraders in an effort to further increase distribution of premium lager brand Stella Artois.
Only around one in five (22 per cent) of freetraders currently stock the brand as compared to an average of one in three (29 per cent) over the trade as a whole.
Starting this month, Interbrew is planning a national trade advertising campaign featuring a hotline number for licensees to call to find out more about stocking the brand.
Although Stella is already available through a wide range of wholesalers as well as through Interbrew itself, the company feels there is a "distribution divide" between freetraders and managed and leased houses which have easier access to the brand.
A direct marketing and telemarketing campaign has also been launched into outlets that do not currently stock Stella and there will be a range of incentives for those who choose to sign up.
The new push ties in with Stella's ongoing campaign to improve the quality and appearance of the lager at dispense. This includes training for licensees and their staff in how to serve and store Stella.
Allan Tudor, director of on trade sales at Interbrew, said this initiative would also be extended into the freetrade and that specially branded glassware would be sent out to pubs
He said: "The customer sees Stella as a high quality product and is, therefore, willing to pay more for it but we want to make sure they are satisfied that they have got value for money."