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VB goes back for its future

July 10, 2011
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It can still claim to be ‘Australia’s favourite’ beer, but where once the brand team at Foster’s could claim that one in four beers sold in Australia, now they have to revert to the claim the brand outsells it’s nearest competitor by 81 millions stubbies and cans a year. Nothing to be sneezed at for sure, but it is a brand on the decline and the team at CUB are pulling out all stops to try and arrest its slide.

The heritage series of cans is targeted at drinkers already loyal to the VB brand, presumably to entice them to grab a slab of the rebadged brew to collect the cans, and also to the suburban barbeque beer drinker who are the remaining rusted on VB beer drinkers and who account for well over half the brand’s consumption.

Will it lead to a change in sales? Time will tell. It doesn’t really offer anything to change the fundamentals of what the brand is offering to the rapidly segmenting beer market and would seem to seek to capitalise on the impulse of the buyer for whom VB is one of a number of beers that they consider. This buyer also scans the catalogues for best price, so it may only offer this buyer a one-off reason to buy.

Rather than prompt me to head down to the nearest beer barn, it promoted me to try and track down a video store that carries the Odd Angry Shot…

Media release

THE VERY BEST OF 1958
VB launches new limited edition 1958 heritage series can

VB retroVB, Australia’s favourite beer, today launched a new heritage branded VB can. The first in a series of exciting innovations set to hit the Aussie market this year, the limited edition packaging features the original artwork which
adorned the first ever VB can sold back in 1958.

1958 was a significant year for beer, as VB became the first Australian beer to be sold in a can. Originally launched as a 13 1/3 fluid ounce steel container, the first VB cans lacked the convenient ring-pull of the modern aluminium can, instead requiring drinkers to punch a hole in the top using a ‘church key’ device. But the brewers were definitely onto something, identifying that the new packaging could chill beer faster than glass – making the tinnie a perfect fit for the ‘best cold beer’, VB.

VB has always been the best cold beer,” said Craig MacLean, senior brand manager for VB.

Ever since 1894 we’ve been searching for and introducing new and innovative ways to make sure that the VB you’re drinking is as cold as possible. The introduction of the can in 1958 was a huge step forward for beer in Australia, something we are celebrating with this limited edition release.”

The 1958 design, which will be available in selected stores throughout Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania from early July, is the first in a series of exciting ‘best cold beer’ ideas VB will deliver in the coming 12 months.

As we head towards summer you’ll see a lot more from VB. There’s nothing better than an ice cold VB, so we’re working to make sure that every time you have one in your hand it’s as cold as possible.”

While the Heritage Cans may look a little different, the beer inside the can remains the same. It’s the current VB brew, Australia’s favourite beer, inside of every can.

The stakes were raised in 1958 when VB was the first to release a steel can alongside bottled beer,” continued MacLean. “Imagine tasting an ice cold VB from a can for the first time. It really was a ground-breaking moment,
changing the way we enjoyed beer.”

VB continues to be Australia’s favourite beer, outselling its nearest competitor by nearly 81 million stubbies/cans a year.

The limited edition 1958 heritage series cans will be available while stocks last at selected outlets.

The launch of the VB 1958 heritage series cans will be supported by print, radio and in-store advertising.

- ends -
1 VB and Foster’s Lager were introduced to the market in steel can packaging simultaneously in 1958
2 Nielsen Packaged Beer Mar 2011 MAT

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