Kerry Marriott and Alpesh Mistry

Kerry Marriott and Alpesh Mistry with the Grocer Gold

There will be a lot of citrus-flavoured beers on sale this summer - in no small part because of the success of Molson Coors’ Carling Zest.

It’s no exaggeration to say the rollout of 2.8% abv Zest changed the face of the beer market. Since Zest’s launch in March 2012, many of Molson Coors’ rivals have launched similarly flavoured low-alcohol citrus beers, hoping to capture a share of a new sub-category.

As a low-abv twist on the old lager and lime, Zest started by introducing a single limited-edition citrus line to target summer drinkers. The citrus version was phased out in September and replaced with a winter limited edition - Hint of Spiced Orange - but returned to market this March as a permanent line. The brand will be expanded with further flavours this year.

The launch was backed by an outdoor marketing push around the concept of ‘Summer Bottled’, plus exclusive YouTube videos featuring top British DJs. Three months after launch, the brand had achieved a very respectable 32% brand awareness.

Even more impressive was the fact that 40% of the brand’s sales were incremental to the category, and Zest helped the lower-abv beer market grow 39% year-on-year [Nielsen 52 w/e 5 January 2013].

As well as impressing our judges, Zest has also garnered plaudits from retail buyers. One suggested “it has been at the front of the leading brewers’ minds when creating their NPD for 2013,” with another stating: “It came at just the right time when we were looking for a big brand to take the initiative with a low-abv product.”


The Grocer Gold Awards 2013 - Grocer of the Year