What is your role at Asahi and how much time do you spend with multiple grocers?
Leading the Asahi UK Marketing team, which is nearly 30 people in total. I am responsible for Consumer and Trade Marketing as well as NPD Delivery for the portfolio of brands and Category Management across our customer base. The team and I spend time across the various factions of the trade and work with all of our customers in a bespoke way. End to End customer service is something we are incredibly proud of.
What are the biggest trends driving the beer and cider market?
Premiumisation continues to be a key trend across alcohol categories and quality plays a part within this. There has to be a premium feel and experience that the consumer has when purchasing a beer or cider, but without the element of quality to the final product to back all this up repeat sales will not be made. As well as quality, consumers are still appreciating and seeking out brands with heritage and authenticity.
Has there been an increase in beer and cider purchases from supermarkets during the Coronavirus epidemic now that pubs are closed?
There has been a natural increase in supermarket sales with the closure of pubs and bars, and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that we maintain stock availability. We have increased our distribution capacity in order to maintain the availability of all Asahi brands throughout the country and are confident that we will be able to continue to meet consumer demand if all customers shop responsibly.
How is the low/no alcohol beer market performing and is Asahi active in this market?
Over the past few years, the demand for low and no alcoholic options has also increased greatly as mindful consumption has grown. To respond to this, we launched Peroni Libera last year. For us it was important to give consumers the freedom of choice when choosing a beer, as a good beer doesn’t necessarily need to contain alcohol and no-and low-beer should certainly never compromise on taste. Since entering the market, Peroni Libera 0.0% has secured the highest rate of sale for all beer NPDs in 2019 at £2.96m value sales in the off-trade1.
How has the acquisition of Fuller’s boosted Asahi’s business?
The acquisition of Fuller’s Griffin Brewery and its brands was incredible, for us as a business and for our customers. We have always prided ourselves in being able to provide a leading portfolio, and the inclusion of Fuller’s beer and cider brands – enables us to offer the most comprehensive suite of brands to customers and consumers.
How has Asahi Super Dry been performing since launch?
Asahi Super Dry has experienced a rapid growth and rate of sale in the last 12months and it is the UK’s No.1 Japanese beer2. Both Premium and World Beer categories continue to go from strength-to-strength and Asahi Super Dry is perfectly positioned to capitalise on these ongoing trends. Brewed according to an authentic Japanese recipe that prides itself on its unique ‘karakuchi’ (dry) taste and quick clean finish it has unique heritage credentials.
How is Meantime being supported in its 20th anniversary?
2019 was the 20th Anniversary year for Meantime and to mark it, a new visual brand identity was rolled out as well as its most impactful social media campaign to date – all centred around the Meantime story, the innovation and it’s 20-yr old journey. New 330ml can multipack formats were also launched earlier this year as part of our strategy to make Meantime as accessible as possible and to support customers driving the convenience and impulse channels.
In late 2019 it was announced that Peroni will be focusing on both Libera and Peroni Nastro Azzurro this year in its biggest ever media campaign. Is that still the plan?
We will still be supporting our brands and showcasing them to keep them front of mind for consumers, but with recent events we have naturally had to change some planned activations. Peroni Nastro Azzurro is the UK’s no. 1 Super Premium brand3, and Peroni Libera continues to grow in popularity so it is key that whatever we put out into public is both fitting and appropriate. In April we launched the ‘Houses of Peroni’, a weekly Instagram live series to provide consumers with a moment of ‘mindful entertainment’, to help elevate time spent at home, enlighten the mood of viewers and offer something to look forward to. It went down really well and we look forward to being able to do even more in the coming months.
What other marketing plans do you have for the rest of this year?
It is an uncertain time for everyone, so we will continue to work with our customers to provide the support and advice as needed. We are currently experiencing a humanitarian issue first and foremost, so we will continue to be extremely mindful of this, and our marketing plans will reflect this.
Is there any NPD on the horizon?
We continue to listen to consumer needs and also work with our customers to develop NPD in line with trends. Quality and Super-Premium will always be an essential element for us when looking to create new lines, and the teams at Fuller’s and Meantime continue to experiment with and develop seasonal and limited-edition brews.