A NEW lager being launched by an industry veteran this summer and aimed at the health-conscious drinker is to be stocked in 220 Tesco stores.
DuneSurfer Desert Lager is a serious attempt to redefine an alcoholic product as a "hydration" drink and could herald the creation of a new lager category.
The new lager, which has received funding from Scottish Enterprise, is the brainchild of John Hunt, a former Scottish & Newcastle finance director and, after S&N's takeover by Heineken, the group's director of global strategy. He left Heineken in 2012, setting up Edinburgh-based Greyhounds Drinks, which is producing DuneSurfer.
Hunt has deployed his extensive knowledge of global drinks trends to refine his thinking, creating a 2% alcohol content beverage which is lower in calories, sugar and gluten.
As the craft beer revolution in the UK shows no signs of peaking - especially in Scotland with the likes of BrewDog - mainstream UK ale and lager volumes are predicted to fall by 15% over the next five years, representing a dip in Britain's love affair with its lagers.
Hunt said: "Consumer tastes are changing. They like to see new brands and innovation yet too many 'new' beers are retro and inward-looking.
"We wanted to create something truly innovative that fits with the casual, fun occasions, particularly after sports events or activity. Increasingly, social drinking has to be part of a healthier lifestyle.
"In our research we found active people saying drinking lager after exercise defeats the whole purpose, yet sports drinks taste awful and are full of sugar and salt. We wanted to resolve this 'alcohol dilemma'.
"I hope people will enjoy this premium lager. It's a clean and refreshing adult drink with low carbonation, so you don't feel bloated."
Hunt said DuneSurfer fits with the growing trend for wellness and nutritional credibility, aiming at the health-conscious, lower-alcohol market, using a secret blend of goji and acai "wonder berries" with yuzu fruit, plus natural vitamin B from the yeast normally discarded in the brewing processes. A 330ml bottle has just 60 calories.
Early bottle designs were undertaken by Nevis Design in Edinburgh, while SomeOne marketing agency in London came up with the name and the concept, based on the sounds and smells of a desert oasis, following branding research undertaken by Charles Robertson and his team at Red Spider in Glasgow.
The initial test brews were developed by brewing company Camerons Brewery in Hartlepool.
Hunt, who has funded the development, said he will be looking at angel investment funding to take the brand to the next level.