The brewer’s group sales director, Keith Hogg, said there was likely to be more activity in smaller pack sizes over the festive period.
At a briefing last week he said: “If there is a good focus on the key brands over Christmas, then, while it will remain competitive, we may see some price inflation this year - but it will be small.”
Craig Clarkson, head of customer marketing, said Scottish Courage would be working to maintain the price of its key brands - Foster’s, John Smith’s, Kronenbourg and Strongbow.
He said consumers who did not normally buy beer at other times of the year would be looking for big brand names this Christmas. “We fully expect that the final Christmas week in 2005 will be even bigger than in 2004, with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday giving a full seven days trading,” said Clarkson.
“To deal with this it will be important that space is available for all pack sizes, including smaller packs to attract the infrequent buyers.
“However, it is inevitable that big pack multibuys will again form a major battleground.”
Hogg said he was confident that the average price for Foster’s would be higher than last year and that the company’s recent off-trade new product developments of Kronenbourg Blanc and Strongbow Sirrus would help to grow the parent brands.