The Licensees' Choice Awards 2009

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Related tags: Licensees, Uk pub market, Beer, Newcastle, Uk

Welcome to the very first Licensees' Choice Awards! This new initiative is designed to celebrate the drinks brands in the UK pub market that...

Welcome to the very first Licensees' Choice Awards! This new initiative is designed to celebrate the drinks brands in the UK pub market that licensees would choose above any other.

We have given Gold, Silver and Bronze awards to the top three brands in all 20 categories.

These are not awards based on what sells the most - simply the brands that licensees most want to stock; brands that they love, and that help them most in their business. The results have come straight from the horse's mouth, and have not been influenced in any way.

And there are some interesting findings, as we are sure you will agree…

Lager - 4.5% ABV and above

Gold: Stella Artois
Brewer: AB InBev
ABV: 5.2
Despite several years of negative publicity, Stella Artois remains a big hitter on the nation's bar-tops. A major effort has been put into re-establishing the brand's quality credentials through new advertising - with some success, one has to say. It will be interesting to see how the roll-out of sister brand Stella 4% impacts on its more established brother.

Silver: Budweiser
Brewer: AB InBev
ABV: 5%
A strong performance for the brand only acquired by InBev last year - perhaps demonstrating what a potentially powerful asset the company has got its hands on. For many years Bud has been considered a weak performer in the UK; well the UK's licensees want to see more!

Bronze: Kronenbourg 1664
Brewer: Scottish & Newcastle UK
ABV: 5%
Much confusion has followed this brand around since Heineken's takeover of Scottish & Newcastle last year. Surely, many speculated, this would spell the end of Kronenbourg in favour of five per cent Heineken instead? Executives protested that this was not the case - the licensees of the UK appear to be behind them all the way.

Lager - 4.4% ABV and below

Gold: Carling
Brewer: Molson Coors
ABV: 4.1%
Dominance of the standard lager sector continues for Molson Coors' top-selling brand. Perhaps its popularity among licensees can be explained by its recent programme of marketing activity that focused on getting drinkers back into the pub. However, it will interesting to see where the growing popularity of the new 'standard/premium' sector (with brands such as Beck's Vier and Stella 4%) has the biggest impact. Will we start to see a migration of drinkers away from the five per cent lager brands?

Silver: Foster's
Brewer: Scottish & Newcastle UK
ABV: 4%
A quieter year for the Amber Nectar - hardly surprising following last year's Heineken takeover of Scottish & Newcastle. There has been a greater focus on the Super Chilled variant of the Aussie lager brand in the last 18 months through marketing such as its 'Stealing Shadows' radio campaign.

Bronze: Carlsberg
Brewer: Carlsberg
ABV: 3.8%
New chief executive Isaac Sheps has big plans to move this Danish icon from number three in the market to number one. Well, it is a Bronze winner in the Licensees' Choice, suggesting it still has work to do with the hearts and minds of publicans.

World Beer

Gold: Corona Extra
Distributor: Wells & Young's
ABV: 4.6%
A huge margin of victory over the other contenders for the Mexican favourite - all part of a very good news story for Wells & Young's, the sole distributor for the brand in the UK. It has embarked on some ambitious marketing this year, from the introduction of 'Corona Weeks' to advertising activity on MTV as well as a partnership with nightclub the Ministry of Sound.

Silver: Peroni
Distributor: Miller Brands
ABV: 5%
One of the big stories of the on-trade lager market in the last few years, 'Italy's Finest' has moved beyond being a style bar's beer of choice and become a firm favourite with the nation's licensees.

Bronze: Budvar
Brewer: Budweiser Budvar
ABV: 5%
If there was a definition of 'slow burn' in the lager market then Budvar would be it. Year after year of hard graft by its small on-trade team has seen the brand garner some real affection in pubs.

Cask Beer 4.1% ABV and above

Gold: London Pride
Brewer: Fuller's
ABV: 4.1%
The highest of accolades for the pride of Fuller, Smith & Turner. London Pride has moved in the last 10 years from being the well-known flagship brand of one of London's family brewers to the key cask brand from London's only remaining family brewer. Not only that but it is one of the most requested guest ales in the freetrade and across the UK. This success has allowed the brewer to put London Pride back on our TV screens this year as part of its 'Ingredients' campaign.

Silver: Bombardier
Brewer: Wells & Young's
ABV: 4.3%
Wells & Young's has lately looked to try and differentiate Bombardier's appeal - and licensees appear to be noticing. The latest big news unveiled by the brand was a new 'lager-style' font aimed at recruiting more 18 to 24-year-old drinkers into the cask category.

Bronze: Director's
Brewer: Wells & Young's
ABV: 4.8%
Perhaps a surprise Bronze for this classic brand. However, its just demonstrates the top class job Wells & Young's has done with Directors since taking it over in 2007.

Cask Beer 4% ABV or below

Gold: Black Sheep Best
Brewer: Black Sheep
ABV: 3.8%
A big surprise to see Black Sheep awarded Gold? Well, it shouldn't be. The Masham-based brewery has done a fantastic job with this brand in the last few years, getting some first class listings across the major pubcos, not least Punch Taverns. Plus word-of-mouth has made it one of the top draws when it comes to guest ales in the freetrade. It consistently proves to be a beer that is good for business.

Silver: Greene King IPA
Brewer: Greene King
ABV: 3.6%
A strong performance for the UK's biggest selling standard cask ale, which has been gaining major consumer pick-up through its association with the England rugby team, helped by the very enthusiastic backing of Lawrence Dallaglio.

Bronze: Doom Bar
Brewer: Sharp's
ABV: 4%
An impressive Bronze award for the Cornish mavericks. Sharp's management has proven that a background in the exacting world of FMCG can stand you in good stead to re-invent a cask beer brand.

Keg Ale

Gold: John Smiths
Brewer: Scottish & Newcastle UK
ABV: 3.8%
No surprise here as John Smith's is the one major national keg ale brand receiving significant investment as well as the only one lending its name to sporting sponsorships such as the John Smith's Grand National. However, there are big names entering the smooth beer market again - not least Courage…

Silver: Worthington's
Brewer: Molson Coors
ABV: 3.6%
Perhaps this Silver award might surprise the good people at Molson Coors - but there's no doubting the power of one of the great names in British brewing when it comes to appealing to licensees.

Bronze: Boddingtons
Brewer: AB InBev
ABV: 3.8%
Bronze for Boddies, no mean achievement given the lack of focus being paid to the Cream of Manchester by brand owner AB InBev. And all of this means no place for Tetley - yet another blow for that flagging brand.

Cider - Draught

Gold: Strongbow
Brand owner: Scottish & Newcastle UK
ABV: 4.5%
Where packaged cider is highly competitive, in draught there was only ever going to one winner. Strongbow dominates both in terms of volumes sold and goodwill from licensees. In the last year, Scottish & Newcastle UK has attempted to connect with licensees t

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