Carling takes the High Road

Related tags Coors brewing company Carling

Coors Brewers, the second-largest brewer in the UK, is to push its flagship Carling brand into Scotland following the £1.2bn acquisition of the...

Coors Brewers, the second-largest brewer in the UK, is to push its flagship Carling brand into Scotland following the £1.2bn acquisition of the Carling Brewers beer company.

It is thought Carling will be pitched directly against former stablemate Tennent's, now in the hands of Interbrew, as the number one lager north of the border.

Under previous owner Bass Brewers, Carling and Tennent's were kept apart but the two brands are set to trade in competition following Interbrew's sale of the Carling Brewers beer company.

Meanwhile, new owner Coors US could not give any assurances that jobs would not be lost as the company reviews operations over the next six weeks.

The trade fears that Coors will look to make savings by closing one or more of the four British breweries.

The Carling deal covered a clutch of other brands, most noticeably the Caffrey's and Worthington labels, some alcohlic pop drinks and the UK rights to Dutch lager, Grolsch. Fears that the new company would focus on its high-volume lager brands at the expense of traditional ales were heightened when the US brewer revealed it is contemplating the future of 10 brands including Carling Premier, Allbright Bitter, Toby, Lamot and Breaker.

It said these brands were "under review".

Mark Hunter, marketing and international development director at the new company, said: "We see an opportunity for cask brands in our portfolio and we will continue to manufacture them as long as consumers continue to choose them. But a lot of that depends on retailers looking after them the way they should be.

"Like any business we are always looking at the sustainability of our brands and we are always monitoring our portfolio."

Coors chairman Peter Coors said: "If sales of brands which have had their day drop below a certain level then we simply have to bite the bullet."

Mr Hunter added however that the Worthington brand, incorporating the keg, cask and bottle conditioned White Shield versions, is set to return to TV screens later this year.

Speaking at a strategy presentation in London, Mr Coors announced the company will also be looking to introduce the US Coors Light brand into England following a successful trial in Ireland and Scotland.

"We have had good sales of Coors Light in Scotland and Ireland and now there is a distribution network that's available. It seems to us the Coors Light brand fits in our portfolio but when and how we do it will depend when we can absorb that extra energy."

In addition to Coors Light, Coors is continuing to cultivate more than 20 new concepts as part of the company's new product development initiative including a a beer designed predominantly for the female market.

The US brewer announced that Carling is to maintain its football affiliation with the launch of "Game On," an on-trade World Cup promotion similar to the "Viva Football" initiative ran in 1998.

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