Carlton & United Breweries has recorded strong results with all three of its most recent product launches and renewals, marketing director Richard Oppy has revealed.
Oppy told Australian Brews News that Lazy Yak, the first addition to the new Yak Ales franchise, was performing exceptionally well with tap distribution now double what was expected at this point.
“It’s already half the size of Fat Yak and I’m tipping, based on its profile and the trajectory, that the next couple of years it will become the number one craft brand in our family,” he said.
“I think what we’ve seen is that there’s a lot of consumers out there that love the Yaks, and love the full-flavoured Fat Yak.
“But on occasions where they’re looking for a beer that’s more sessionable, they’re drinking the Lazy Yak and really enjoying it,” Oppy said.
He said the number one beer in the craft segment is James Squire 150 Lashes, “which Lazy Yak will be hunting down”.
Pure Blonde in strong growth
Meanwhile, the revamped Pure Blonde is set to deliver six months of consecutive growth at the end of February.
“We’ve been ecstatic with the turnaround. To be honest it’s exceeded all our expectations, the first quarter in growth in over six years,” Oppy said.
“When I say growth it’s gone from double digit decline to over 20 per cent growth over that period. I certainly don’t think it’s a one month blip, I think it’s a trajectory change.”
As such, Oppy said the negativity of some Pure Blonde drinkers about the changed recipe highlights that “a very small voice can be very loud”.
“There was a backlash on social media but that’s all dried up now. There have certainly been a lot more people coming to the brand versus those who have left,” he said.
Great Northern success
And Oppy said CUB’s most recent mid-strength launch, that of the 3.5 per cent ABV Great Northern Super Crisp, had sold over two million cases over the last 12 months.
“We’re seeing definitely a switch out of XXXX Gold,” he said.
“When you put Great Northern Original on top of it, it’s over four million cases, that brand.”
Oppy said 70 per cent of Great Northern Super Crisp’s volume has been outside of Queensland.
“Of that 30 per cent of volume sold in Queensland, it hasn’t cannibalised Great Northern Original, which continues to be in strong growth,” he said.
CUB will also wrest back key international brands from Lion, should AB InBev’s takeover of SABMiller get the green light from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The competition watchdog is expected to announce its ruling on April 14. A legal expert has told Australian Brews News the deal will almost certainly be approved.