Speaking at The Morning Advertiser’s Beer Summit event in Manchester, Bentley told attendees that mainstream lager remained “still a critical part of the category” and stressed that the negative image of these brands was are “not particularly helpful or representative of the reality for a lot of people”.
“Mainstream brands in beer seem to get a really bad press, but if you think outside the beer category and look at food and drink as a whole, the mainstream brands are seen as the go-to option and the staple for a lot of people.
“Mainstream lager brands are no different but there is a different mindset surrounding them. I’m sure we can all think of images for mainstream lager that are not that positive, and those images really get in the way of what the category is about.”
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Getting the basics right
Bentley also insisted that mainstream lager brands ought to remain a part of the range of beers stocked in an outlet, citing data that six out of every 10 lager pints consumed are mainstream brands.
“Sometimes people just want a lager and something that is accessible,” he added. “There is a tendency to get carried away with the inspirational elements of premiumisation and craft, and forget about the basics.
“Yes, craft beer sales are up but – despite the hype – they are not as big as people think. Some 59% of lager drinkers drink mainstream lager so it is hugely important and needs to be part of your range.”
On the subject of what the future holds for mainstream lager, Bentley predicted that the sector would continue to face “challenges” and cited the need for brands to reinvent the way they are perceived by drinkers.
“The lads and banter connotations are not particularly helpful or representative of the reality for a lot of people,” he said. “Mainstream lager is drunk by a broad range of people over a broad range of occasions, but the industry has not done a very good job of communicating that to customers and to the trade.”
The Beer Summit was brought to you by The Morning Advertiser in association with Diageo and law firm TLT LLP.