The beer maker behind the likes of Hobgoblin, Wainwright and Marston’s Pedigree, has renewed its five-year distribution deal with Kirin just months after extending its agreement with US-based Shipyard.
According to the brewer, sales of Kirin, which produces Kirin Ichiban, have grown since Marston’s took over the contract from Charles Wells Brewery – now Wells & Co – following the acquisition of its beer business in 2017 for £55m.
“This extended partnership with Kirin is a testament to the close relationship we have built over the past three years,” Richard Westwood, managing director of Marston’s Beer Company, explained.
“We are excited to work collaboratively with the Kirin team in order to build the brand’s UK presence and showcase it as the premium, authentic Japanese beer.”
Kirin Europe GMBH CEO Yoshinori Tsuchiya added: “Without the excellent collaboration with Marston’s, we would not be able to allow consumers to love our brand in the UK, like they do in other regions of the world. We are excited to continue doing business in the UK with great partners.”
Kirin’s rapid growth
In June 2019, The Morning Advertiser (MA) revealed that Kirin was the world’s fifth most valuable beer brand according to a report by brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance – behind only Budweiser, Bud Light, Heineken and Harbin – after its value increased by 45.4% in 2018.
What’s more, MA reported that Kirin-owned Australian food and beverage behemoth Lion Global Markets acquired 100% of Yorkshire craft brewer Magic Rock Brewing in March 2019.
The deal marked Lion’s latest foray in UK and European markets becoming the custodian for London craft brewery Fourpure Brewing Co in July 2018.
Importance of world beer
Speaking after the publication of Marston’s On-Trade Beer Report 2019-2020, the brewer and operator’s head of consumer marketing Louise Fleming explained that world beer was the fastest growing segment of the on-trade’s lager market.
“That growth is predominantly coming from Mediterranean brands including the likes of Estrella Damm, but we do see growth in this area,” she said told MA in July 2019.
“It’s tough because there is quite a lot of brand loyalty within lager, but as we’ve seen with the growth of craft and world beer, and the desire of the consumer to premiumise, I'm sure it will increasingly grow – there are always new brands entering what is a global market out there.”
Marston’s world beer portfolio includes European brews such as Estrella Damm, Warsteiner, and Erdinger, American pours Shipyard and Founders as well as Kirin.