After achieving cost savings of £37m in the past year, the focus now for the country’s biggest brewer is innovation and growing beer revenues in the off-trade, according to the MD of Scottish Courage.
John Dunsmore said there had been a major cultural shift within the company after the appointment of key managers.
He said the distribution problems of last year had been resolved after a major supply chain review, resulting in the merging of on and off-trade distribution operations - and the brewer was on course to meet Christmas demand.
“Now we have sorted out supply difficulties and the high cost base, we will focus on growing revenue,” he said.
ScotCo, producer of brands
including Foster’s, Beck’s, Kronenbourg 1664 and Strongbow, believed the closure of the Fountain and Tyne breweries would enable it to save £60m by 2006.
Dunsmore added: “Culturally, we had a management that wasn’t capable of handling the rate of change. The change in culture is the thing that is going to make the most difference. The brewery closures were pretty hard, but people here responded well and we are now fighting back in the off-trade.”
He claimed standard lager was growing faster in the off-trade than premium brands such as Interbrew’s Stella Artois, which at key trading times like Euro 2004 was in danger of becoming commoditised.
“There has been a lack of innovation in the past year that has come with the decline in RTDs,” he said. “Now brewers are no longer integrated with pubs they can focus more on making beer better and translating messages about beer quality to the off-trade.”
Claire Hu