The deal involved Interbrew, Coors and Carlsberg brands and offered any two packs of 20 cans of 440ml Carling, 20 bottles of 330ml Stella Artois or 24 bottles of 300ml Carlsberg Export for £14.
Keith Hogg, managing director of sales for Scottish Courage Brands, which produces rival lager brands Kronenbourg and Foster’s, said the blame lay predominantly with the retailer.
“It is incredibly disappointing when you have significant beer brands that have true consumer value, with millions of pounds spent on them, discounted by the retailer in this way,” he said.
Hogg said extreme discounting by retailers ran contrary to efforts by some brewers to raise prices, in order to fund innovation and raise the image of lager. “This is not a good moment in the history of the take-home beer market.”
Smaller producers said brewers could not deny playing a part in the kind of promotions being seen in Somerfield. “The end result is that between them they are lowering the perception of the market,” said Mike Teague, head of sales at Bavaria UK.
A spokesman at Somerfield said the offer had been successful in shifting packs of beer. “This shows Somerfield’s commitment to offering fantastic promotions at key times of the year that tie in with sporting events such as Wimbledon. This week we are also starting a half-price wine promotion on selected wines.”
Somerfield’s deal ran from June 29 to July 5, putting the price of a 300ml bottle of Carlsberg Export at 29p.
Industry sources said the retailer was approaching producers with larger orders to fuel the promotion, as well as using it to shift excess stock.