Beer alcohol

Beer drinkers are set to enjoy bumper offers this World Cup

Eight of Britain’s 10 biggest beer and cider brands are cheaper now than at the start of the 2010 World Cup, exclusive research by The Grocer shows.

With the FIFA World Cup kicking off in Brazil this week, the average price per litre on multipack SKUs across the big four has plummeted compared with promotional prices in the week running up to the 2010 competition in South Africa.

The steepest decline is on Foster’s lager, which has dropped 16.5% from £1.88 a litre four years ago to £1.57 this year, with Carlsberg and Carling also down by more than 10%.

Leading cider brands Strongbow (-6.8%) and Kopparberg (-9.4%) have also been caught up in the price war.

AVE Beer & Cider Pricing (P/L)

AVE Beer & Cider Pricing (P/L)
 20102014% change
Stella Artois £2.24 £2.27 1.3
Foster’s £1.88 £1.57 -16.5
Carlsberg £1.84 £1.59 -13.6
Carling £1.88 £1.66 -11.7
Budweiser £2.47 £2.23 -9.7
Strongbow £1.77 £1.65 -6.8
Kronenbourg 1664 £2.61 £2.45 -6.1
Becks £2.83 £2.59 -8.5
Kopparberg (pear) £2.76 £2.50 -9.4
Peroni Nastro Azzurro £3.28 £3.60 9.8

Source: 7 d/e 12 June 2010 vs 12 June 2014. Prices compare  variants available only in both date periods and exclude single bottles

The only exceptions were Stella Artois - Britain’s biggest beer brand - which has risen 1.3% from £2.24 to £2.27; and Peroni whose £3.60 per litre price - by far the highest among the leading brands - represents a 9.8% increase on 2010.

Foster’s owner Heineken said pricing was “essentially” a matter for retail customers. “It’s really not for us to comment on their strategies. What we can say is that the World Cup is clearly a highly competitive period in all categories so it’s no surprise the big four are seeking to win share through keen pricing.”

Pre-World Cup promotions have contributed to lower prices but the base price - the price before promotional activity - of many big brands is also lower than four years ago, which a buyer at one of the big four suggested was partly in response to increased pricing competition and a greater presence of brands in discounters.

The scrapping of the duty escalator and a penny-a-pint reduction in tax in two consecutive budgets have also enabled prices to fall. “Two beer duty drops in the past two years have had a massive impact,” added the buyer.

World Cup excitement and forecasts of good weather over coming weeks made this a perfect opportunity for brewers and retailers, suggested analyst Tim Wilson, MD of Wilson Drinks Report. “For brands with volume objectives, this is a chance to get some good visibility and put some volumes through,” he added.

Despite the low prices, beer and cider are taking less featured promotional space than in the run up to the 2010 Cup. Beer and cider have accounted for 25% of offers on alcoholic drinks in the past week compared with 32% four years ago [Assosia]. Wine and spirits both increased promotional space share in the period.

In terms of brand activity, Stella Artois, Carlsberg and Carling are taking less featured space, while Foster’s and Budweiser have accounted for more. In cider, Strongbow has ramped up its activity to 42% of all cider deals, from 31% in 2010.

Read more on the World Cup

Some of the biggest beer deals to tempt armchair fans:

budweiser world cup logo


Case: 15 x 300ml

Deal: 3-for-£20

Retailer: Asda

per litre: £1.48


Foster's alcohol


Case: 20 x 440ml

Deal: £10

Retailer: Morrisons

per litre: £1.14


Kronenbourg 1664

Kronenbourg 1664

Case: 12 x 440ml

Deal: 3-for-£24

Retailer: Tesco

per litre: £1.51




Case: 15 x 440ml

Deal: 3-for-£24

Retailer: Sainsbury’s

per litre: £1.21