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Beer Market Faces Gloomy Winter


A drinks analyst has made gloomy predictions for the coming months – with Christmas set to be “at best flat” and the first part of 2010 “extremely tough”.

However, AC Nielsen consultant Graham Page said “discovery” brands and standard premium lagers are providing a much-needed lift.

Nielsen predicted there would be no respite for the trade until “towards Easter”, as AC Nielsen data showed an 8% fall in on trade volumes to September 2009.

But he added: “If we have half a chance of a good summer, and especially south of the border (in England) with the World Cup, this should really boost trade.”

Glimmers of light amid the gloomy predictions came within the premium lagers – although Page said overall “the figures weren’t good at all”.

He said some “discovery” brands, like “new kids on the block” Peroni, were “having a fantastic time” as consumers were “constantly on the look out for something new and different”.

He also predicted that the next major international brands to arrive on the UK scene would be from the Far East.

Page said standard premium lagers, including Becks Vier and Stella 4%, were “doing rather better than the premiums”.

“As the recession eases and the economy picks up, the category will start to see the easing of significant declines. We won’t see declines of 6, 7 or 8% in the next few months.”

The Scottish market showed surprising resilience: beer volumes fell 3%, with the national average down 8%. Page said Scottish traders were now “looking after smokers’ interests” by investing in facilities. A rise in food and wine sales also helped.

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Saturday, January 20, 9:08 am

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