Beer demand has ‘surpassed expectations’ but big brewers coping

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Moving forward: a number of brewers have stated the demand for beer amid pubs partially reopening was higher than anticipated (image: Getty/Ridofranz)
Moving forward: a number of brewers have stated the demand for beer amid pubs partially reopening was higher than anticipated (image: Getty/Ridofranz)

Related tags: Beer, Heineken, Budweiser Brewing Group, Carlsberg, Asahi, Lager

Clamour for pints amid the on-trade reopening for outdoor trading has exceeded predictions, but a number of the big brewers have stated they are keeping up.

The Daily Mail ​reported Heineken was limiting UK pub orders with licensees only receiving three kegs a week of Birra Moretti due to supply issues.

A spokesperson for Heineken UK estimated more than 10m adults in England have headed back to the great British pub, with many drinkers opting for a draught pint.

“Demand for Birra Moretti and Amstel has totally surpassed our most optimistic forecasts and our breweries are working round the clock to deal with this high level of demand," they added.

“We are working closely with our customers to keep them regularly updated on the situation and to offer alternative beers from the extensive Heineken UK range of brands, as we increase production.”

Budweiser Brewing Group (UK&I) said its teams had been preparing for weeks, gearing up for the public returning to pubs and had invested more than £115m into its breweries to create 630m more pints a year.

Dynamic reopening period

On-trade sales director Jean-David Thumelaire added: “Our three UK breweries operate around the clock and we’re working hard to ensure demand from pubs can be met and fresh kegs can be delivered during this initial reopening period.

“We’re now busy producing all our brands, including Stella Artois, Corona and Camden, to meet surges in demand from our pub partners. This includes extra production over last weekend, when we saw especially heightened demand.

“We haven’t seen significant shortages of our brands but we keep in close contact with our customers daily to support them in this dynamic reopening period.”

The owner of brands including Becks, Budweiser and Corona also outlined its latest initiative to help pub staff.

“Stella Artois especially has been a popular choice due to the Stella Tips initiative, through which the brand is adding £1 to staff tips for every pint sold, to support those staff behind the bar that have endured so much in the past year," Thumelaire added.

“We are preparing for Monday 17 May, when restrictions will hopefully ease again and are tripling our production to be ready.

“We look forward to seeing people coming together to celebrate that moment of euphoria.”

Increased demand

The Morning Advertiser ​understands Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company is also seeing high demand, but is managing to meet it.

A spokesperson for the company said: “The partial reopening of pubs in England has been a significant moment for both publicans and beer lovers, with huge numbers visiting their local to enjoy a post-lockdown pint.

“This, in turn, has led to increased demand across our portfolio, which we are currently meeting across our brands.”

Similarly, Asahi highlighted the level of work that had been going on to prepare for pubs partially reopening in a bid to ensure beer demand was met.

UK sales director Steve Young said: “We knew these first few weeks back would be crucial for our customers so we put in a huge amount of advanced planning to ensure we had the stock in place to meet demand upon reopening, including making a significant investment in new kegs for our imported and UK-based portfolio.

“As a result - while we’ve seen huge demand for our products, with our volume performance significantly ahead of the same period in 2019 – we are in a good position to respond and fulfil orders across our portfolio.

“This includes products such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro, which the data shows has proved to be an extremely popular choice for that first pint back!

“At the same time, we’ve worked hard to support customers by helping to provide a safe and high-quality experience for visitors – investing more than £1m in materials such as parasols, premium café barriers, recyclable takeaway cups/carriers, ice buckets etc – as well as placing several hundred mobile bars in outlets to support secondary serving.”

Related topics: Beer

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