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Grolsch targets $40bn beer sweet spot based on ‘new experiences’

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By Ben Bouckley+

08-Jul-2014
Last updated the 08-Jul-2014 at 15:18 GMT

Grolsch in a glass jar has been launched in Romania and Canadean believes the launch will boost long-term brand loyalty as customers flock into a $40bn market for beer offering ‘new experiences’.

Market research specialist Canadean says the Romanian launch (see the video below) builds upon the popularity of mason jars sweeping the nation’s trendy bars and cafes.

Catherine O’Connor, senior analyst at Canadean says she can see consumers in other markets clamoring to get their hands on SAB Miller brand Grolsch's new design.

Asked if she thought Romania an odd choice of test market, O'Connor said large companies often used smaller, emerging markets as testing grounds for innovation "where product failures will generate minimal negative attention and successes can be easily transported to other, more major markets".

Such designs drive repeat purchases as people look to collect a set for their cupboards, she says, with “novel branded glassware acting as a memory aid and thirst generator”.

O'Connor said Romania was a receptive target for beer innovation since beer commands a 25.6% share of the country's drinks market by volume, compared with a European average of 12.8%.

Alongside the launch of The Jar or 'Borcanul', the analyst said Grolsch had launched a multipack with seemingly absurb stories on the side targeting communal consumption occasions, which can be deciphered as part of a game with friends.

Canadean says its data showed that ‘new experiences’ prompted almost 14% of consumption in the lager market – with flavor innovation and novel packaging likely to bring success.

“With consumers spending $40bn a year on beer that offers new experiences, the market is ripe to target,” O’Connor says.

She told this website that Canadean expects novelty packaging to trend up across beverage categories, with brands investing to get consumers talking.

"For instance, EFES Russia launched their Gold Mine beer in bottles designed to look like pint glasses," O'Connor said.

"In the soft drinks market, Tango brought out its aerosol design Turbo Tango foam as part of a limited edition packaging and formulation innovation," she added.

"Similarly, Coca-Cola recently launched screw cap bottle tops in Vietnam that aim to get consumers excited about the packaging as well as the product itself and encourage bottle re-use as a soap dispenser, whistle, gun and more," she said.

The analyst also agreed that - given the emotional resonance consumers feel with such novel packaging - marketers working for major brands had seemingly neglected the area until fairly recently.

"This does seem like a slow reaction. Getting consumers engaged is a key concern for brands, and leveraging feelings of excitement and connection through novel packaging is a great way to do this," O'Connor said.

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