Heritage beer brands have similar consumer appeal to the booming craft beer segment, according to Carlton & United Breweries, which resurrected the Tooth & Co trademark this week.
The company this year appointed Amy Kearney as dedicated brand manager for the heritage segment, in addition to her other responsibilities.
“We’re passionate about growing the beer category and our commitment is to innovate and bring products to market that get people talking about beer again,” Ovadia said.
“We’ve just this year launched Melbourne Bitter back onto draught again and it’s been a phenomenal success for us and or consumers.
“Resch’s Draught is still a significant heritage brand of scale in the pubs channel. Old Kent Brown has got a resurgence amongst inner city younger drinkers, ironically. It’s quite a challenging beer style but they love the story behind Old Kent Brown.”
Similarly to craft beer, Ovadia said heritage brands are compelling for consumers because they tap into local areas and regions.
“If you look at what’s happening in craft and why craft beers are growing, there’s two reasons,” he said.
“Craft beer is introducing consumers to different styles of beer, and secondly, those brands tend to have local provenance stories.”
Demonstrating the overlap in appeal, Kearney said CUB is fielding enquiries from craft beer-focused venues about ranging the heritage brands.
Not about trademark protection
Tooth’s Pale Ale is the first in a series of beers Ovadia said will be “given back to local communities”.
“What we’re finding is an amazing response,” he said. “Younger drinkers like getting connected with the history and stories of the past, and older drinkers nostalgically look back on these beers that, in this instance, were a big part of inner Sydney.”
He said there are other Tooth’s and Resch’s products that may be in line for a relaunch in Sydney.
In Melbourne, upcoming releases will include McCracken’s Ale in January and a draught release of Abbotsford Invalid Stout in May.
Kearney said CUB may delve even deeper to awaken some of its suburban brands such as Richmond Lager, which along with McCracken’s was one of 60 unused trademarks that Thunder Road Brewing sought to prise from CUB two years ago.
However, Ovadia insisted the heritage program has nothing to do with trademark protection. As evidence, he pointed to the “effort and passion” that had been devoted to the Tooth’s relaunch.
“In the past we have pulsed certain brands in the marketplaces to protect their trademarks, but this isn’t about that at all,” he said.