Lagunitas’ Australian distributors will monitor the performance of a reduced alcohol version of the brewery’s flagship IPA being introduced into the UK before deciding whether to launch it here.
The Heineken-owned brand confirmed this week that it will lower the ABV of the draught version of its IPA for the UK market, citing changing consumer demand.
The IPA will be sold as Lagunitas Draught IPA in the UK with the alcohol reducing from 6.2 per cent to 5.5 per cent.
The Australian market has more in common with the UK market than the US market in terms of the tax and regulatory system favouring lower alcohol beers. As such, a similar move here could be attractive for Australian distribution.
Australian tastes also tend to more moderate alcohol which has seen the local market become a testing ground for mid-strength global brands.
A spokesperson for Drinkworks, a wholly owned subsidiary of New Zealand’s DB Breweries, which itself is owned by Heineken, advised the business has “no plans in the short term although we will monitor the UK performance”.
Lagunitas was officially launched in Australia in May, a year after Heineken acquired the remaining 50 per cent of the business it first bought into in 2015.
Lagunitas founder, Tony Magee, then told Radio Brews News that the California-based brand has since enjoyed a 95 per cent sales increase in international markets.
While Lagunitas no longer counts towards US Brewers Association data, earlier this year the association reported craft beer export volume increased by 3.6 per cent in 2017, now totaling 56-million litres and valued at US$125.4 million.
Australia counts for 3.8 per cent of US craft exports.