Holsten rolls out niche beer

Related tags Beer Beer style Wheat beer Holsten uk

Holsten UK has conducted in-depth research into the burgeoning speciality beer sector to coincide with the launch of its German wheat beer,...

Holsten UK has conducted in-depth research into the burgeoning speciality beer sector to coincide with the launch of its German wheat beer, Franziskaner.

The German brewer is looking to establish itself as a leading authority on a niche and speciality beer market that is worth £100m and growing at 43 per cent in the on-trade.

Following the launch of a growing proliferation of brands, the on-trade market remains extremely fragmented and lacks direction, according to Michael Barrett, insights manager at Holsten UK.

He said: "You go into pubs and bars and you see a growing number of speciality and discovery brands but there isn't a manufacturer or brewer that's actually leading the sector, giving an insight into the consumer or telling the trade how to sell the beers better."

Having undertaken qualitative research into the market, incorporating the views of both drinkers and beer writers, Holsten UK has identified a number of differences between the premium packaged lager (PPL) drinker and the speciality beer enthusiast.

"Speciality beers can be equated with wine or whisky," added Mr Barrett. "The speciality beer drinker is a bit older than those who drink PPLs, with an increased desire to embrace more cosmopolitan or European behaviour. The loyalty is not to brands but to the category as a whole."

Findings from Holsten's research also suggest that, initially, growth in the speciality sector will be in bottles rather than draught, because packaging was earmarked as particularly important by the target audience.

Mr Barrett said: "The ritual of pouring the beer is key and the glass is a major factor. In the on-trade we are nervous about bottles but people really like the idea and the consumer wants to drink the beer in the traditional way. There's a feeling that draught moves the beer nearer the mainstream sector."

At a time of competitive pricing in a beer market currently in volume decline, expensive niche beers add essential value for the licensee and attract a different consumer to an outlet.

Holsten UK will be looking to use its research to help develop its newly acquired Franziskaner brand having assumed the distribution and marketing rights from Refresh UK.

Fraziskaner, a range of three beers from Munich - cloudy, clear and dark - boasting an ABV of five per cent, will be available in 500ml brown bottles and will be supported by branded menus, branded glasses, beer and food menus and chalkboards as well as tasting notes. In addition, Holsten will be looking to develop in-pub tastings, a speciality beer style guide and a "guru" programme for pub staff.

"The specialist beer category is an emerging category, desperately in need of development," added Andrew Edge, marketing director.

"With the launch of Franziskaner to join our existing specialist bier, Duckstein, we intend to proactively drive the category through leading initiatives that educate and inform the trade and consumer."

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