SAB tries new beer styles as it plans to expand

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BR SAB Bloomberg SAB's still drinks portfolio includes energy drinks such as Powerade. Photo: Bloomberg

Johannesburg - SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer, is looking to expand in South Africa with new beer styles, including flavoured beers such as Flying Fish, and beef up its non-alcoholic drinks portfolio to address new drinking occasions.

As local subsidiary SA Breweries (SAB) expands its beer offering and “romances” its core lager to maintain its market leadership, SABMiller Beverages South Africa chairman Norman Adami predicted a “substantial upside growth” in the soft drinks market, particularly the still beverages, and the group has already devised a strategy to capitalise on this.

SAB’s still drinks portfolio includes energy drinks PowerPlay and Powerade, Valpre and Bonaqua bottled water, Nestea and Fuze iced teas, as well as Appletiser. SABMiller is a Coca-Cola bottler in 32 markets.

Sales volumes of the still beverages portfolio achieved a compound annual growth rate of 7 percent in the four years to March last year.

The soft drinks portfolio, including all Coca-Cola brands and still beverages, had a compound annual growth rate of 2.5 percent over this period.

Beer sales, which are SAB’s core business, grew 2 percent.

SABMiller is going into a closed period so it could not disclose the performance for the 12 months to March.

In addition to working on reviving its existing still beverages brands, SAB will launch a few new products.

To boost its core brands, SAB would be refreshing its lager beer across different markets and is planning to increase its premium mix to drive customer loyalty.

“Our core brands are very important to us. We will continue to support those brands, mature those brands to make sure that our brand positioning and proposition is very competitive,” Adami said.

The brewer’s core larger brands include Castle Larger, Carling Black Label, Hansa Pilsener. Premium brands, including Castle Lite and Castle Milk Stout, now make up 27 percent of the portfolio mix. - Business Report


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