LONDON (KMOX)- The market for beer around the world is growing. According to Reuter’s, growth in the world beer market picked up to reach 2.7 percent in 2011. Industry Research group, Plato Logic said the continued growth was strengthen driven by emerging markets. Reuters reports that growth in that market is predicted to grow at 2.5 percent this year.
And who remains atop the chase for global beer dominance? Plato reports that for 2011, there was no change in the ranking of the world’s four biggest brewers with Anheuser-Busch InBev retaining top spot followed by SABMiller, Heineken and then Carlsberg. The four have a combined global market share of around 50 percent.
Meantime, AB InBev says it’ll enter the hard cider market with “Michelob Ultra Light Cider,” according to Advertising Age.
Hard cider is largely popular in the United Kingdom, but has been gaining increasing popularity in the United States in recent years, with sales up 25% last year.
Anheuser-Busch says it will extend it’s Ultra brand line. In a recent memo to distributors, the brewer described “Michelob Ultra Light Cider” as a “less sweet, lower calorie, all-natural alternative” to traditional flavored malt beverages and ciders. A sample bottle label sent to distributors shows that A-B will reportedly plug the product as “naturally gluten-free.” The drink, scheduled for a May 7 launch, has 118 calories and 4% alcohol by volume, according to the memo.
While a small category, cider is attractive to marketers because it commands high margins, priced at an average of $35 a case, compared with $33 for craft beer and $29 for imported beer, according to Nomura Equity Research. Cider is also popular among coveted women drinkers. At the same time, brands are winning over more male fans thanks to bolder flavors. Vermont Hard Cider, for instance, says its customer base is now 50% male, with the average drinker between the ages of 21 and 30.
A-B is also planning several line extensions of other brands. For instance, the brewer plans to roll out Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita for a limited time from April 9 through Labor Day, according to a memo to distributors. The product is described as delivering “authentic margarita flavor with a unique twist of Bud Light Lime” and is designed to be served over ice. Another line extension will expand the brewer’s relationship with Bacardi with a new rum-flavored malt-beverage lineup called Bacardi+, which will come in Torched Cherry+Cola and Arctic Grape+Lemon Lime Soda, according to the memo to distributors.
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