Molson Coors: brewers must unite

By Graham Ridout

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Molson coors Cask ale Keg

SIBA: food for thought at annual conference
SIBA: food for thought at annual conference
Brewer Molson Coors has called for all brewers — large and small — to work together to help boost beer sales. Speaking at the Society of...

Brewer Molson Coors has called for all brewers — large and small — to work together to help boost beer sales.

Speaking at the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) annual conference, Scott Wilson, director of public affairs at Molson Coors, called for an end to the "them and us" mentality that existed between small and large brewers.

"Wines and spirits pose the biggest threat to beer and its time for everyone to unite for a beer revolution," he said.

Wilson said campaigns like Beer Naturally, Beautiful Beer and Beer Reverence hadn't stopped the decline, which has seen consumption drop by 40% over the past four decades.

"Look at the craft, the service and love that goes into coffee — we need to recreate that for cask beer.

"In Spain and the Americas, beer is truly celebrated and has unisex appeal."

Molson Coor's director said it was vital to attract younger drinkers, particularly women. "In 2001, 18% of ale consumers were men under 35. In 2008, the percentage had dropped to less than 10%."

The feminine perception of beer was of male dominance, too gassy, too many calories and too bitter. "If you solve these problems, you will bring in a new audience," he remarked.

He also called on cask ale brewers to innovate. "It was the mid 1990s that we saw the last real innovation in the beer market with the widget. Craft brewers have the opportunity to led the beer revolution."

Failed miserably

Simon Jackson, director of the Beer Academy, told delegates that "the success of wine was not down to luck", but due to producers extolling its virtues.

"By contrast, we have failed miserably in communicating with consumers. On calories, beer is seen as the bad boy, but it has the same amount as other alcoholic drinks."

Jackson said the public perception of wine is that it is part of a healthy lifestyle, is ideal for social occasions, comes in a wide range of flavours and styles, and goes well with food. On all these counts, wine wins convincingly, he said.

He went on to urge brewers to take action to educate the public on the many benefits of beer.

Important employers

Fellow speaker Dan Kopman of US craft brewer Schlafly Beer said brewers should lobby politicians and remind them of the importance of beer not only to the British way of life, but also to the economy and employment. "In the US, small brewers only account for 5% of the market, but account for 50% of the jobs (in brewing). "

He said an analysis of SIBA members revealed one full-time employee for every 537 hectolitres of beer produced compared with one job for every 50,000 hectalitres for the large UK brewers.

He added: "The one thing that I learned when lobbying Federal Government is don't give them too much information — it's all about local manufacturing and local employment." Kopman said UK brewers should adopt a similar tactic with their MPs.

Related topics Beer

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