A strong performance by world beer brands Peroni Nastro Azzuro and Pilsner Urquell has driven an 11% rise in Miller Brands UK revenues (less excise and similar taxes) in the six months to September.
Peroni is the fastest-growing of the top ten beer brands at retail, with sales this year up 15.1% to £97.4m [Nielsen 52 w/e 11 October 2014]. Meanwhile, total volume sales of Pilsner Urquell had risen 19% the six months to September, said Miller.
The success of Peroni was the result of innovation and maintaining a premium price point across the on and off trade, said Miller Brands UK MD Gary Haigh. Peroni retails at around £20 for an 18x330ml pack, making it considerably pricier than AB InBev’s market-leading premium larger Stella Artois.
“Having a disconnect between a brand’s pricing in the on trade and the off trade is a pretty fatal flaw, so we’re absolutely committed to keeping that pricing aligned,” said Haigh.
Peroni product innovation had included the development of two new bottle formats. A 250ml piccola bottle designed to be drunk as a pre-dinner aperitif rolled out in Sainsbury’s last week, while the alta - a 750ml, prosecco-inspired sharing bottle - launched into the on trade and premium retailers in October.
“What we’ve found with our other large bottles is that male consumers tend to use them as single serves,” said Haigh. “But when you see this bottle you’ll understand you’re not able to get away with it as a single serve.”
Haigh also said that Miller’s strategy for turning around the faltering Miller Genuine Draft was starting to show results. In 2013, the company made a decision to move away from offering the brand in multi-buy deals.
Nevertheless, sales of the brand have fallen 18.5% to £14.9m [Nielsen 52 w/e 11 October 2014].