Marston’s brewery hopes to rejuvenate off-trade sales of its Pedigree bottled beer with a stronger abv and a return to its original label.
The abv will be increased from 4.5% to 5% across its existing bottles of Pedigree and the recipe will be altered to better resemble its cask flavour. Pedigree’s traditional red and gold colour scheme will return to adorn the bottle label, five years after the beer was relaunched in a black and silver design to increase its premium appeal. The updated product will roll out later this month.
The revamp would help the brand’s sales volumes double over the next three years, predicted sales director James Coyle. It was currently the 5% abv bottled beers such as Greene King’s Old Speckled Hen that were driving growth in the beer market, he admitted.
“Pedigree bottles are just outside the top 10 selling brands at the moment and underperforming, so we had to react ,” said Coyle. “Increasing the abv of a beer is always a challenge because the higher quantity of alcohol results in a sweeter flavour, and brewing into bottles is a challenge because the manufacturing process reduces the original taste and body of the beer. So we had to carefully tweak the amount of hops and malt to maintain the classic Pedigree flavour. The result better reflects the cask version.”
The stronger abv would position Pedigree as more of an “indulgent, after dinner drink that can be savoured more”, said Coyle, adding that the brand’s canned version would receive the redesign in September, but would stay at 4.5% abv.
Despite the changes and the 17% total increase in duty that the Government placed on alcohol last year, the retail price of Pedigree bottles would remain around £1.48, added Coyle, although he was concerned about this month’s Budget.
“If Mr Brown increases the tax again then we will be forced to pass the costs onto the consumer. Considering the tax hikes last year, I hope we will get a reprieve,” he said.
Support for Pedigree 5% will include a national billboard ad campaign communicating the brand’s third year of sponsorship of the English Cricket Board.