By Shane T Williams in New York City

The successful engagement of Carlton Draught with a younger audience demonstrates that the mainstream beer segment is not a lost cause, says Carlton United Breweries CEO Ari Mervis.

At the 2012 LMG conference in New York City, Mervis said "classic beer" still accounts for over 70 per cent of the market.

He said that with over 3 million views and a 97 per cent like rate via YouTube, Carlton Draught has successfully engaged the next generation of beer drinkers with its new Beer Chase campaign, which started in social media before it launched into traditional media.

'Embrace change' is the theme of the LMG conference and Mervis said CUB was doing just that, with a renewed focus on beer and building brands in response to changing consumer sentiment. 

As well as "sticking to a winning formula" for Carlton Draught, he said this came in the form of embracing loyal Victoria Bitter drinkers through its reprisal of the brand's original full strength formula and branding.

'The best cold beer is back," Mervis said, adding that VB will be marketed to its core loyal following that has traditionally been older mainstream beer drinkers.

Mervis once again reiterated that given Australia's climate and lifestyle attributes, there is room to increase beer consumption in Australia to be in line with similar overseas countries.

He said CUB will continue to focus on its core brands, which will be "fewer, bigger, better". Whereas once many of the brands played to the same audience, a more strategic approach will see each brand target a section of the market, be it younger, older, progressive or mainstream.

The LMG conference concludes this Thursday with approximately 350 delegates in attendance.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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