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BrewDog aims for specialist lager market

BREWDOG has declared its ambition to alter perceptions of the "demonised" lager market and take it back to its roots with its latest product launch.

HOPPY EVER AFTER: BrewDog's new drink This.Is.Lager.
HOPPY EVER AFTER: BrewDog's new drink This.Is.Lager.

The Aberdeenshire brewer has bullishly claimed This.Is.Lager. - a 4.7 per cent alcohol by volume pilsner - offers an alternative to the mass produced brands which dominate the market.

It also suggests the lager will help tackle binge drinking by redefining consumers' relationship with alcohol.

BrewDog is widely credited with leading the craft beer revival in the UK with brands such as Punk IPA since its launch by James Watt and Martin Dickie in 2008.

Now it is aiming to do the same with lager with a product which celebrates how the drink was originally made.

Pilsner is a style of pale lager which records suggest originated in the Czech town of Plzen in 1842. It is typically blond in colour, effervescent, and is heavily hopped.

This.Is.Lager, which comes as BrewDog gears up to move into spirits production, is brewed with 100 per cent malt. And it is claimed to contain as much as ten times more hops than the majority of lagers on the market.

Mr Watt said: "Lager is often demonised or derided as the choice of drink of chavs and louts, which is the result of laddish marketing that diverts attention away from taste and enjoyment and undermines the potential of lager as a creative and artisanal beer. If we can redefine lager in the UK, we will redefine our relationship with alcohol.

"We can actually start to reverse binge drinking trends currently being tackled by toothless and misguided legislative proposals unlikely to ever see the light of day anyway."

The new product will join BrewDog's "headliners range", which includes 5am Red Ale, Brixton Porter and Dead Pony Pale Ale, as the company seeks to win over drinkers unfamiliar with craft beer.

It will make its debut in BrewDog bars in draught and bottle format today, when the bottles will also available for order from the firm's online store.

Jim Rowan, managing director of wholesaler Dunns Food & Drinks, said he understands the BrewDog rationale, but noted the broad range of choice already open to drinkers in Scotland thanks to imports from mainland Europe and the US.

He said: "They have a point, but people like the WEST Brewery [in Glasgow] are producing lager to the German standard [Reinheitsgebot, German beer purity laws].

"There are also lots of imports. We import Paulaner, [nad] there's Erdinger coming in, so there's lots of German and Czech beers coming in which are not standard beers."

Mr Rowan, whose company recently acquired specialist beer distributor Dameck Drinks Company, also noted that product quality was not the major factor accounting for the dominance of the mainstream brands BrewDog has in its sights.

He said: "There is a need for mainstream lager, but it is generally driven by price point. There is a feeling people will pay for a standard lager. [But] there are people now moving away from standard lagers to these more premium lagers primarily because of the taste and the quality of them. There is a range there if you want to look for it, but the market is dominated by Carling, Tennent's and I suppose Heineken in Scotland. But I would say that is driven more by the price point as opposed to anything else."

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