Craft out new growth
The craft beer market continues to go from strength to strength with consumers actively looking for premium products, especially if they are new and interesting.
There’s no avoiding the fact that the last few years have been enormously challenging for the trade. The impact of the pandemic has been driving down footfall, sales and profits. Thankfully, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. One of the brightest opportunities remains craft beer.
In a world turned upside down by Covid, craft beer continues to go from strength to strength: growing +42.6% according to CGA OPMS data (MAT to 28/01/23). There’s a growing appetite for craft beer in hospitality venues, representing a clear opportunity to tap into the trading-up potential and capitalise on this now and into the future.
CGA’s OPUS research of 5,000 consumers reveals that craft beer drinkers are more concerned with quality than cost when it comes to purchasing craft beer. Indeed, the report found that a significant 30% of craft beer consumers are exclusively looking for premium brands.
What’s more, one in five craft beer drinkers are still looking for new and interesting brands. Yes, brand reputation is a driver for these consumers, but they are still actively seeking out new and exciting products to try.
Step forward Flint Eye and Level Head, Greene King’s new premium craft beers. Launched less than a year ago, the two new brands have already started collecting independent industry awards, recognising the quality of the taste, design and value of the exciting new beers.
Level Head secured a Silver Medal at the recent Bartenders’ Brand Awards while Flint Eye was awarded a Bronze Medal following an exhaustive judging process which included a blind tasting followed by a formal judging of the design and value of the products.
Level Head, a session IPA (4% ABV), and Flint Eye, a dry-hopped lager (4.5% ABV) are both perfectly placed to capitalise on the demand for exciting, interesting new brands with a strong story to tell.
Both brands take a modern twist on Britain’s eccentric past and, to create them, Greene King drew on its 200 years of brewing expertise to reimagine old recipes.
Will Hemmings, Brewing & Brands Marketing Director, says:
We’ve twisted and adapted traditional flavour profiles and channelled some of Britain’s colourful folklore to create authentic, modern, and exciting beverages, perfect for a new urban audience right across the UK.
Flint Eye and Level Head were inspired by myths and legends from Bury St Edmunds, where Greene King have been brewing for centuries.
Flint Eye celebrates the Neolithic flint-tipped arrows found in and around the brewery’s native Bury St Edmunds. Combining orange peel and citrus aromas with subtle pine notes, this lager is created with yeast that is fermented at a colder temperature for a longer time, resulting in a crisp and refreshing beer that has a delicate balance of flavours.
Level Head is a perfectly executed session IPA which has an aroma sitting somewhere between tropical and grapefruit notes. Light in body, but slightly dry with a medium bitterness and pithy aftertaste, this session IPA’s name hints at the legend of St Edmund, the original patron saint of England who was beheaded by the Vikings in 869 and from whom Bury St Edmunds takes its name.
The new offerings celebrate Britain’s wild flavours, and occasionally eccentric past, but are very much designed for the modern drinker. Targeting craft drinkers who enjoy flavour discovery with quality they can trust, the new range is designed to be enjoyed primarily by customers in relaxed premium drinking outlets, such as craft-focused bars, gastro pubs and quality sports clubs.
Greene King has committed £10m of investment to back the launch of the beers over the first two years. This includes an advertising campaign to drive further brand visibility through billboards, digital display, social media, and video on demand.
While Flint Eye and Level Head may be the newest craft beers on the block, Greene King and Belhaven also offer some more established craft favourites like Ice Breaker Pale Ale and East Coast IPA.
Indeed, Ice Breaker was also among the winners at the Bartenders’ Brand Awards, adding a Silver Medal for taste to its list of accolades. Ice Breaker was first launched back in 2019 and, to add to its interesting backstory, was crafted by Greene King’s brewing apprentices.
Under the tutelage of Ross O’Hara, at the time the world’s youngest Master Brewer, the apprentices were given the freedom to break the boundaries of brewing at Greene King, creating this easy-drinking unfiltered pale ale, bursting with fruity hop aromas.
The beer is triple-hopped to deliver citrus and tropical fruit aromas and tastes, complemented with fresh pine resin and a crisp bitterness.
Pale and amber malts give balanced sweetness and the addition of Carapils malt and torrefied wheat contributes body and mouthfeel.
Alex Radcliffe, Marketing Controller at Greene King, says:
We are thrilled to have secured medals for all three of our modern beers and it is a testament to our brewers and their skill that we have such a brilliant portfolio to share. We are incredibly proud of Ice Breaker and how that has continued to grow following its launch, and we are sure that Flint Eye and Level Head will follow in succession after a brilliant first year.
Meanwhile, venues can also take advantage of the well-established East Coast IPA brand which is crafted using only the finest American hops. This 4% fusion ale pairs the punchy citrus aroma of American style IPAs with the easy-drinking flavour of the finest English pale ale.
Cold, gold and beautifully bold, East Coast IPA is a triple-hopped celebration of all that is great about our two great brewing nations.
There’s no question that the craft beer category is an important one for many venues and often helps target a different consumer demographic, bringing new customers to your door.
These four fantastic beers can open up more opportunities for you to drive fresh footfall, sales and profits by offering carefully created premium beers, rich in history, that will appeal to those looking for something new and interesting to liven up a trip to their local.
We have a superb relationship with Greene King. They produce outstanding products and they have a history and heritage that appeals to a city like Nottingham which is very proud of its own long history and, despite being centuries old, Greene King continues to innovate and keep up with the times. A great recent example is the launch of Level Head which has been hugely popular with our customers.
Phill Jones, Commercial Director, National Ice Centre & Motorpoint Arena
We’ve added both Level Head and Flint Eye and they’re doing really well. Adding exciting new premium craft beers is vital for
us to keep up with modern trends and offer our guests a choice of interesting beers.
Michael Temple, Commercial Director, Trent Bridge