Carlton & United Breweries has reaffirmed its commitment to Crown Golden Ale, despite the beer’s failure to build on its promising start.
Launched in June 2014, Crown Golden Ale was initially exclusive to Woolworths Liquor (now Endeavour Drinks Group) stores.
“Crown Golden Ale got off to a flyer when we launched it through the Woolworths group,” CUB marketing director Richard Oppy told Australian Brews News.
“It took off, selling significant volume in the first year. As we took it trade-wide it hasn’t necessarily had the level of traction that we were hoping, based on the fantastic performance within Woolworths.”
He confirmed that the product will no longer be available through Coles Liquor stores following a recent range review.
“It wasn’t performing well at Coles. Given our total portfolio – we’ve got a number of innovations that are coming in – they’re removing it,” he said.
The beer will also no longer be available in cans, a format CUB had created for events and airlines.
“I don’t see it as an event SKU,” Oppy said.
He said CUB has a plan over the next 12 months to “rectify its performance and reignite some love for that brand”.
Crown Lager healthy overall
Oppy said Crown Lager has also declined as CUB seeks to maintain more premium pricing on the master brand, following its mid-2013 overhaul.
“You need to have a long-term vision when you reposition a brand,” he said.
He said the brewer will be holding its nerve on price, with CUB’s research indicating consumers perceive the quality of Crown to be higher since the relaunch.
“We had a great month last month on Crown Lager, but Crown Lager’s a very elastic brand when it comes to price. Retailers use it to drive people into their stores, particularly during key periods of Father’s Day, Christmas and Easter.
“We want to work with our retailers on how we can raise the average price on Crown Lager overall so that they make more money and we can position it back to a premium price point.
“Over the short-term, we’ll take a volume hit as we lift that price up to where it needs to be, in that premium positioning,” Oppy said.