Foster’s Gold has buoyed the original lager brand, as well as the overall beer segment, after notching up more than £30m sales in its first year.

While off-trade sales of lager giants Stella and Carlsberg are in decline, Gold has helped value sales of the overall Foster’s brand rise 13% over the past year to £377m [SymphonyIRI 52 w/e 28 April 2012].

This has put its value growth ahead of all of its top-five rivals, including Carling, which launched premium bottled lager Carling Chrome last year.

The premium 4.8% abv lager launched exclusively into the off-trade last July in an embossed easier-to-grip bottle. Aimed at young men keen to impress, it was supported by a multimillion-pound push, including TV and outdoor ads featuring Aussie brand ambassadors Brad and Dan, and aggressive in-store promotions.

The strategy appears to have paid off. Less than 12 months later, off-trade sales hit £30.3m [Nielsen 52 w/e 28 April 2012] - two thirds of which was incremental to the total beer category, claimed brand owner Heineken.

Foster’s Gold drinkers had added to their existing beer repertoire or traded up, it said, with 15% of value coming from standard lager and 7% switching from Foster’s.

The new brand had attracted a wealthier demographic, with 57% of sales from ABC1s versus 44% for standard lager, it added. Drinkers were also younger - 61% of sales were from consumers aged 18 to 34, versus 38% of sales for standard lager.

“Foster’s Gold universally appealed across that age range,” said brand manager Nic Casby.

It was also consumed at 30% more ‘mixed-sex drinking occasions’ than standard lager - the Holy Grail, according to SymphonyIRI, which predicted mixed social settings would account for 30% of value growth in the market by 2015.

“It’s a drink of the times - it’s not flashy but neither is it screaming cheapness or value,” added Pete Dewar, founding partner of branding agency The Clearing.