The company’s Czech beer brands, Pilsner Urquell and Kozel, put in a similarly good performance, Gary Haigh, MD of the company’s UK arm Miller Brands, told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, following the brewer’s first-quarter update yesterday (24 July 2014).
He also revealed plans for Peruvian lager Cusqueña in the UK, which was brought back in house last month.
Peroni grew 26% in volume and 30% in NPR (net producer revenue, a measure that accounts for excise and other taxes) over the period, following increased investment in the sales force and marketing initiatives, Haigh said.
An extra 20 people were added to the team last year to drive distribution of the Italian lager in urban centres outside of London such as Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Successful marketing activities such as the House of Peroni (a pop-up event of art, music, food and beer), above-the-line advertising, and a strong online presence also increased the rate-of-sale and the price-per-hectare of the beer.
“We’ve also upped our investment in glassware by 15% this year, and this represents a significant chunk of our marketing spend, it’s a key part of our strategy, “Haigh explained.
“It’s difficult to justify a price of £4.75 a pint, which is the average in London (the average price for Peroni across the UK is a little lower at £4.45), if the glassware, temperature and serve aren’t absolutely perfect and we’ve put a lot of resources into ensuring that is happening this year.”
Sister brands Kozel and Pilsner Urquell also experienced gains, up 33% and 20% in volume respectively, and NPR growth of 36% and 30%, which were again attributed to successful marketing initiatives, such as Pilsner Urquell’s sponsorship of Taste of London.
The addition of Cusqueña, which is owned by SAB Miller but was distributed in the UK by Chilli Marketing until last month, would allow the company to target more independent, niche, trendy outlets, Haigh explained.
“We’re going to spend the rest of this year getting to know the brand and putting in place plans for a push in 2015,” he said.
There is also talk of NPD emerging from the company soon, in the form of new packaging formats for Peroni, following the success of its new 250ml Piccola bottle, which has been doing well across the Drake & Morgan estate in London.
Globally, SAB Miller reported strong first quarter revenue growth, selling more expensive beer in Africa and Europe, which offset volume declines in Latin America and Australia.