Big-spending Interbrew UK has ploughed £3m into backing its chiller message to the trade in the last 12 months, it has revealed. The company said the spend was justified because its research shows there are more sales to be gained from the beer fixture if the products are offered cold. It has been putting this into practice by joining forces with a fridge manufacturer to offer branded fridges to the trade. Retailers have to pay for the fridges but they come with enough free stock of Stella Artois to offset the cost. The offer has been taken up by Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury and First Quench. So far 1,000 chillers have gone into the multiples, another 2,000 branded units have been installed in independents, and 750 have gone to multiple specialists. The brewer has also successfully targeted consumers directly, selling 12,000 branded mini chillers ­ retailing at £90 ­ through Asda, Tesco and First Quench. From this week Sainsbury's top 15 stores will have another 1,000 to sell. Interbrew sales director Steve Kitching said: "It is encouraging that more retailers are starting to appreciate the commercial importance of chilling, particularly its role in generating impulse purchase. "Chilling is undoubtedly the biggest opportunity to build the value of the beer category, particularly in specialist and convenience outlets where a high proportion of shoppers are buying for immediate consumption." The brewer's research suggests 60% of beer is bought for immediate consumption and 40% of shoppers do not think there is enough chilled beer available. It pointed out that in the US 90% of beer is sold chilled compared with 5%-10% in the UK. {{DRINKS }}