Lion continues to drive opportunity in consumer insights, releasing new products and styles that tap the minds of Aussie beer drinkers.
Last October Lion’s segment-leading James Squire brand launched its new Summer Ale – The Swindler – in venues nationally. Responding to the growing style, it has seen unprecedented success and today begins further distribution as part of the permanent line-up, and a new off-premise pack.
But offsetting the new craft varietal, the big brewer’s highly successful and mainstream commercial Hahn label has announced a forerunner ‘very-low-alcohol’ varietal – Hahn Ultra.
This new Hahn is just 0.9 per cent ABV, and is a direct response to the rise of very low and non-alcoholic beer category internationally, which has seen 34 per cent growth in the last five years to now account for 1.8 per cent of global beer consumption.
While The Swindler is a distinctly taste-driven offering, made using flavoursome Calypso and El Dorado hopes, Lion marketing director Ben Slocombe says consumer insight shows this is also the opportunity for Hahn Ultra.
“A key reason for the international growth in non/low alcohol beer has been the improvement in taste, and our research told us that two of the top barriers for Australians are poor taste perception and lack of choice,” said Slocombe.
“In Australia, consumption of low alcohol beer has remained low by comparison and the understanding of its benefits has been limited, but we are beginning to see this evolve in line with consumers’ overall focus on wellbeing.
“Hahn Ultra has been developed and refined over the past six years by our passionate and talented Hahn brewers. They tested countless brewing techniques and technologies to get a low alcohol beer that has full flavour.”
After just two months’ performance since it release, The Swindler managed to become the #3 top-selling draft beer in the James Squire range, and has kept Lion’s Malt Shovel brewery busy.
“Demand is way over expectations, to the point we have had to scramble to make sure we have enough hops … which is always fun,” says Malt Shovel head brewer, Chris Sheehan.
“Due to their rarity, we had to virtually swindle the hops ourselves, but at 4.2 per cent ABV it’s an ale guaranteed to please palates across the country.”
Aztec data last year showed Summer Ales now account for over three per cent of craft volume, and are fast growing in popularity. They are typically low in bitterness, with fruit aromas, and pair well with seafood and lean meats.
Boasting just 45 calories (189 kilojoules), Lion believes Hahn Ultra will speak to the increasingly health conscious public, and suggests the beer – which contains far less sugar than most other non-alcoholic drinks, such as soft drinks or mocktails – offers a better alternative to consumers concerned with calorie intake.