After a winter of what at least one newspaper dubbed “never-ending” rain, the UK continued to be a grey and drizzly place in May. Even with the occasional streak of sunshine, it’s a far cry from the brilliant blue skies and palm-fringed plazas of Seville.

Seville, after all, is the embodiment of what our poor British hearts desire: baking hot sunsets, streetside merriment and lounging by the pool. These wistful thoughts are also the fodder for Cruzcampo’s current £10m campaign, which runs until July.

It features a moustachioed man who, as Spanish guitar plays, rolls a keg across the city by walking backwards atop it – deftly avoiding some spilled Seville oranges, nicking some tapas from a diner’s plate and showing off a flamenco flourish. It aims to capture the spirit of the beer’s hometown.

Tweaked to British tastes and climate

“Even if you don’t come from Seville, you can choose to live the Sevillian way,” reads a release from Cruzcampo’s parent company, Heineken. Its UK-sold lagers, of course, aren’t exactly the same as their Spanish equivalent. Made in Manchester and ‘tweaked’ to British tastes and climate, it is slightly lower in abv, at 4.4%, with less bitterness (lagers are more heavily hopped in Spain). It’s not the exact beer you’d drink in Seville, but will most Brits care? Perhaps not, previous polling on the provenance and authenticity of beers has shown.

It can’t hurt that Spanish-style lagers are all the rage, having taken both pubs and retail aisles by storm. Take Molson Coors’ Madrí Excepcional, brewed in Burton-upon-Trent, which has racked up off-trade sales of more than £65m in less than two years since launch [NIQ 52 we 9 September 2023].

Cruzcampo is already cruising at a good speed. The Grocer’s Britain’s Biggest Alcohol Brands report 2024 will next month show the brand has made strong gains, especially against the likes of Madrí – despite Cruzcampo having only launched in the off-trade last autumn. Across on and off-trade, its volumes have surged from just 650 hectolitres last April to more than 241,000hl. 


Source: Cruzcampo

Cruzcampo lager UK sales performance

A strong start for the brand, yes. But the coming months could be critical despite the conditions ahead already appearing ripe. Lagers of the same ilk – Madrí, for example – have succeeded by aligning themselves with Spain despite having no roots there. It would stand to reason that Cruz’s actual Spanish links, along with Brits’ growing love of a package holiday to the country (Spain is the UK’s top holiday destination) and the start of the summer festival season, could bolster its success.

However, the premium continental lager market is a crowded one as big beer goes hard on innovation again after years of quiet. Take Heineken-owned Birra Moretti’s new salty Sale di Mare proposition, highlighted as the brand’s ‘Madrí moment’, as one of many recent new category entries.

Shelves and bars are already chock-full of premium lagers – not just from the continent (or styled as such) – so Cruzcampo may have to rely on more than a moustachioed, barrel balancing bro to sell more of its beers.