Rosie Davenport
Holsten has become the second high profile brand to exit the ready-to-drink market by calling time on Fusion, its flavoured lager spin-off.
The brewer said it could not match the marketing investments put behind rival brands despite a launch budget of £2m in 2001.
Holsten Fusion ­ a mix of 5% abv lager and fruit flavours ­ was intended to straddle the lager and RTD markets, but ultimately "suffered at the hands of newer, younger brands", said the company.
Andrew Edge, marketing director at Holsten UK, said: "The launch of Holsten Fusion represented the first real innovation in the premium packaged lager market for decades, but it has been overshadowed by new brands that appeal to the same audience. Unfortunately, we have not been in a position to support Holsten Fusion to the extent we would have liked."
Somerfield beer buyer, Andy Carling, said the brand suffered because it was not widely available in bars, preventing consumers trying it before buying it instore.
The move comes two months after Diageo withdrew Gordon's Edge because of "overcrowding" in the market.
Holsten hopes to relaunch the brand next year, but in the meantime the brewer is concentrating on a new non-alcoholic beer. Available now, the brew costs £4.29 for six 330ml bottles. Holsten said it was confident of success because of its "genuine beer credentials".
Chris Ellis, director of off-trade sales at Holsten UK, said: "Existing non-alcoholic beer brands are experiencing image problems. We envisage Holsten non-alcoholic beer will have wide appeal due to its real beer credibility and taste."