By Andrew Starke
While it may be months before it can discuss specifics, SABMiller CEO, Graham Mackay, mentioned brands as one of three ‘key business enhancements’ that it would address at senior management level.
Generally, the SABMiller strategy in other markets where it is the dominant player has been to offer a full range of beer brands with clear differentiation between each.
Speaking yesterday, Mackay said the brewer’s priorities would be to strengthen the Carlton franchise and Crown Lager while revitalizing the ‘iconic’ VB brand.
He added that all three required clear positioning and said this was one of the strengths of SABMiller.
However, premium and craft beer segments may be where the biggest shake-up occurs.
Foster’s has a contract to sell Corona, which commands about half of the volume of international premium beer in Australia, and Stella Artois but both are imported or brewed under licence and these deals will need to be revisited with SABMiller at the helm.
While new brands from the world’s second largest brewing company are inevitable, SABMiller may initially look to focus on raising local marketing spend and increasing distribution of its presently available beer brands: Grolsch, Peroni, Miller and Bluetongue.
Some existing brand extensions in the present Foster’s portfolio may face the chopping block with the Carlton banner alone accounting for 11 beers.