There was a frenzy of PR driven media coverage yesterday as XXXX Gold officially claimed the title of Australia’s best selling beer. Like many reading the news, I had assumed that the title was the result of explosive growth from Lion’s Australian flagship brand. However, it seems it’s not.
In terms of market share, XXXX Gold has grown its share 1.6 per cent to 12.4 per cent since 2008. Over that same period its main rival, VB, has plummeted 5.4 per cent to 12.3 per cent market share. To put this into perspective, in September 2010 VB was claiming to outsell XXXX Gold by 101 million stubbies. In 2011 this was down to outselling Lion’s flagship by 81 million stubbies. The beer in those stubbies has evaporated.
Still, while it has claimed the biggest market share, in volume terms, XXXX Gold’s volume is actually less today than it was in 2009 (after peaking in 2010).
Far from a surging victory, XXXX’s title leaves it looking a little like the Steven Bradbury of beers. It simply managed to stay on its feet, while VB has flailed and fallen.
The beer industry has changed dramatically over the past few years. In 2004, VB alone commanded more than 25 per cent market share, meaning that one in four beers sold in Australia was a VB. Today XXXX Gold and VB combined don’t reach that total. In 2004, VB’s nearest rival was Tooheys New which then had 8.5 per cent of the national beer market. Today Toohey’s New commands just 7.1 per cent of the market.
The market is splintering dramatically while at the same time declining compared to other alcoholic beverages.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that the percentage of alcohol consumed as beer continued its decline last year, falling another 3.4 per cent to historic lows.
To keep the ice metaphors going, celebrating having the biggest beer in this market is akin to a penguin celebrating commanding the largest part of an iceberg that’s slowly drifting into warm waters.
Media Briefing Note
XXXX GOLD® is now (1) Australia’s best selling beer, overtaking VB which has been Australia’s best-selling beer for as long as many beer drinkers remember. In April 2011 VB held 13.7% volume share and XXXX GOLD® just 11.7% – just one year on and in April 2012 VB had dropped to 12.3% and XXXX GOLD® took the lead with 12.4%.
First brewed in Queensland in 1991, XXXX GOLD® pioneered the mid-strength beer market, quickly becoming Queensland’s number one beer brand. To this day close to one in three beers consumed in Queensland is a XXXX GOLD®. Since that date, Lion has been progressively rolling the beer out nationally, and XXXX GOLD® is now growing volume and value share in every state outside its QLD home. Today, you can find XXXX GOLD® on tap in pubs and clubs from Townsville to Tullah.
The success of XXXX GOLD® can also be attributed toAussies’ desire for a full flavoured beer that is better suited to the Aussie climate and to the challenges of modern life than traditional full-strength beers. It has also been driven by a combination of award-winning advertising (with one of the longest-running, successful campaigns in Australianhistory featuring Jacko and the boys), some larger than life brand activations and its investment in both sport and the community across Australia.
In 2007, XXXX GOLD® unveiled the XXXX GOLD® Beach Cricket Series, bringing some of the world’s best (and most loved) former cricketers to Australian beaches to compete in custom built stadiums. This multi-faceted activity was the first significant move by the brand to cement XXXX GOLD® as a beer for all Australians.
The XXXX Angels and XXXX GOLD® Retreat continue to appear in towns and events around the country and the recent announcement that XXXX GOLD®had a acquired an island, just for its drinkers, has captured the imagination of beer drinkers – not only in Australia but around the world.
The perfect destination for mates’ trips away, XXXXIsland will be open to visitors who win the chance to go with three of their mates from October this year. Leading up to the official opening, XXXX GOLD® will be bringing to life some of the ideas its drinkers have submitted that would make the island experience even better.
For most people, their time on XXXX Island will be made up of spending time with their mates, a spot of fishing or touch footy and an icy cold XXXX GOLD at the end of the day.
Matt Tapper, Lion Marketing Director
“This is certainly a significant milestone for XXXXGOLD®, and our thanks go to all those people in Australia who have made this great beer as popular as it is today. Whilst we’ll no doubt raise a glass in celebration, we have even bigger aspirations for the brand – one of which is opening XXXX Island, the ultimate destination for mates’ trips away, to our drinkers in October.”
“XXXX GOLD® is simply a great tasting beer that’s ideally suited to today’s lifestyle, and anchored in the terrific heritage that is the XXXX brand. Regardless of where we sit in the market, our focus will always be on providing a great tasting beer for our loyal drinkers.”
(1) According to Nielsen data, XXXX GOLD® outsold VB nationally for each of the last three months (February, March and April 2012)XXXX GOLD® also outsold VB the12 months ending 30 April 2012.