Greene King is the latest brewer with a campaign to persuade

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Greene king, Old speckled hen, Brewing

The beer with food movement is growing. The national brewers are at it. So too are niche brands like Duckstein and Cobra. Now, the regional brewers...

The beer with food movement is growing. The national brewers are at it. So too are niche brands like Duckstein and Cobra. Now, the regional brewers have entered the fray with Greene King launching its "Beer to dine for" campaign with celebrity chef-restaurateur Ed Baines. Evidence that beer has lost out to wine as the drink to accompany a meal isn't hard to find, as Rooney Anand, managing director of Greene King Brewing and Brands, points out. "When you consider that in the past 10 years, wine sales in this country have risen by 84% while beer sales have declined by 14%, you can see the extent of the missed opportunity. During this time, people's interest in food, cooking and eating out has risen beyond all expectations." Greene King hopes that having Baines on board as a consultant will help the Suffolk brewer redress that imbalance. Last week, Anand and Baines launched the start of the campaign by hosting a series of lunches to show beer's affinity with food, with Baines selecting the brands to go with his dishes. In Baines, Greene King has got someone who is passionate about beer. Baines says that once "a steak and a pint" was considered the norm before wine took over. Now, he says, many people consider a pint of ale is "not quite right" to accompany food. He adds: "I hope to pursue the message that we have got to start talking about beer with good food. There is nothing new in that and we are not trying to replace wine." The campaign is being pursued on four fronts. Larger bottles of Old Speckled Hen (750ml) and IPA (660ml) have been introduced to promote the idea of sharing a bottle over a meal. Guidance notes are being printed on the back labels of Greene King's bottled beers indicating the types of food that best suits a particular brew. Allied to this will be information on the back of pump clips to help licensees and staff make recommendations to customers. The third part of the action plan is trialling the use of "Beer to dine for" logos and food-and-beer recommendations on pub menus. The final part will be recipe card promotions at the point-of-sale in major supermarkets. Anand says the campaign will play an important part in GK's brand and marketing over the next few years. "It reminds people that beer is relevant to them. It addresses existing beer lovers and reaches out to new ones through food.

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