The head of Interbrew UK has said the brewer will not engage in any more deep discounting of its brands in the off-trade.
Steve Cahillane, chief executive of Interbrew UK, brewer of brands such as Stella Artois and Castlemaine XXXX, told a press briefing that the company would no longer indulge in the kind of discounting rife in supermarkets.
"Deep discounting is unsustainable," he said. "It's very much on our agenda to drive up value. The real long-term winners will be those that invest in the value of their brands."
He said that Interbrew had reduced its 24-bottle pack of Stella Artois to a 20 pack while keeping it at the same price.
Interbrew's move will be a boost to licensees, who are frustrated at being blamed for alcohol-related violence.
More than eight out of 10 publicans believe supermarket promotions are hitting their trade, according to a poll on thePublican.com last week.
However, brewers will continue to fight a difficult battle with the supermarkets according to Glenn Payne, former beer buyer at Safeway, and now sales director with Greenwich brewer the Meantime Brewing Company.
"If there is margin to give away the supermarkets will do it. They are in control," he said. "The brewers are competing in a market where there is a surplus of product. Retailers can work them off against each other."