The dispute comes in the wake of deals in which a bottle of beer was sold for less than a soft drink in some multiple retailers during Euro 2004.
Paul Stanger, Scottish Courage off-trade customer marketing director, said price-slashing on category leading brands like Stella Artois had been unnecessary and short-sighted.
“There were some brands in discount deals that did not need to be there. At a time of year when demand is so high, it was disappointing to see discounting at that level,” Stanger said.
ScotCo claimed it had kept Foster’s out of summer deals like Asda’s two 24-packs for £20, and off-trade sales MD Keith Hogg conceded a “commonsense” approach from other brands such as Carling was helping price go the right way.
Interbrew, which last month relaunched its ‘Reassuringly Expensive’ campaign for Stella Artois, insisted that the company was committed to maintaining the value of the category.
Retail sales director Jon Woods said the importance of sporting occasions for beer sales in grocery was growing. “People drank more beer rather than stockpile and that’s good for the whole category,” he added.
Launching the Reassuringly Expensive ad, Interbrew take-home sales managing director Stuart MacFarlane admitted the level of competition during big sporting events was putting greater pressure on price.
“However, despite widespread discounting of the beer category, Stella Artois still commands a premium price in the take-home market compared to other big lager brands,” he said.