Global super-brewer AB InBev has acknowledged the continued growth of the Australian premium mid-strength market by launching a lower ABV version of its market-leading Corona.
Corona Ligera (pronounced lee-hair-a) joins Peroni Leggera, Heineken 3 and Asahi Soukai in the premium international mid-strength segment.
The 3.2 per cent ABV Ligera is exclusive to the Australian market and while most international brands tend to be brewed locally in the interests of freshness, Corona continues to be unique by maintaining its fully imported stance.
Being brewed in Mexico is a big part of Corona’s brand promise, said Emily Griffiths, director of premium brands at Carlton & United Breweries.
“‘From where you’d rather be’ is the key brand promise and while it’s probably probably more of a brand positioning piece than really integral to what the brand is all about, we’ve got no plans to change that,” she said.
Like Heineken 3, Corona Ligera is actively targeting day-time consumption occasions with the new variant, as opposed to the sunset moment that Corona Extra has been synonymous with for a long period of time.
“Corona Ligera will suit Australians who want to have a couple of beers at a BBQ, but still have responsibilities the next day,” Griffiths said.
“Equally, it would appeal to the career-minded young professionals who love a Sunday session, but are looking for a premium beer which offers moderation ahead of the start of a busy week.”
Despite being a clear-bottled, light-flavoured contemporary lager, Griffiths said she doesn’t believe that the mid-strength Corona would cannibalise the brewery’s mid-strength version of Great Northern.
“The positioning and who these brands are talking to are very, very different,” she said.
“Great Northern is all about escape to the outdoors with your mates. And while on the surface maybe that looks like Corona is not all that different, it’s a much younger demographic that we’re [Corona are] talking to.
“Yes it’s about the outdoors, but more about the beach and sunset occasion. So from a position perspective we’re very clear that they play a very different role. They talk to very different people.”
The mid-strength beer category grew by 14 per cent in 2017 and CUB says it now accounts for more than 23 per cent of the Australian beer market. Corona currently enjoys an estimated six per cent of the total beer market. Less than 12 months after its release, Heineken 3 claimed a 30 per cent share of the total mid-strength market.