Peruvian beer Cusqueña is to join Budweiser Budvar in the growing dark lager category.
The company is launching the 5.6% abv Cusqueña Malta next month. Although it is produced using the same method as a lager, it is described as a heavier beer with malty and slightly sweet chocolatey flavours - because of the use of chocolate malt in production - but with a smoky finish.
Malta follows the launch of the 5% abv Cusqueña Lager last summer and has emerged shortly after
Budweiser Budvar Dark, the Czech Republic’s dark lager that entered the UK off-trade last month. Budvar Dark has already grown recognition for dark lager among UK drinkers following its launch into pubs 18 months ago, while Malta has had successful test marketing trials. “This is the year for dark lager,” said Cusqueña’s sales director Kieron Barton. “The market is much more sophisticated than it used to be and people are constantly looking for new products.” Barton said its Cusqueña premium lager brand, which goes into Asda next month and Tesco in May, had already seen strong sales growth in Sainsbury since its launch last summer.
“People want to know where their food comes from. In the same way, consumers are becoming more savvy with alcohol too and retailers are developing their imported beer categories to cater for this.”
Malta’s launch followed requests from fans through Cusqueña’s web site and will be distributed by Venus & Co from next month. It has a slightly higher price point than the original Cusqueña brand at £4.99 for a pack of four.
Sonya Hook