By James Atkinson

Tap King may bring welcome excitement to the beer category but it is doubtful the product will resonate with consumers long-term, according to Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) boss Ari Mervis.

Commenting on rival Lion's big-spending marketing campaign for the draught beer at home product, Mervis joked he had "never been a fan of Lionel Richie's".

"But we encourage the fact that our competitor is bringing innovation to the category – it's good for the category that there's excitement," he told TheShout.

"I think that James Brindley and Lion do a good job and he's a good friend of mine," he said.

However, while Brindley argues Tap King "will not take one schooner away from the on-premise", Mervis is unconvinced.

"Our concern would be around encouraging consumers not to go to the on-premise and trying to substitute that occasion," he said.

"One of the areas that you build brands is the on-premise. You build your brands in the on-premise and you sell your volume through the off-premise."

"I think if it is a game changer it certainly could be game changing in terms of how the on-premise perceive the support they are receiving," he warned. 

Look at history on take home kegs

Mervis said that take home keg products have never really got much traction elsewhere in the world.

"It generally gets a lot of noise, which as we say is great for the category because people talk a lot about beer and the virtues of beer, but ultimately it hasn't necessarily been able to hit the volume numbers that have made it really sustainable," he said.

But unlike his colleague Paul Donaldson, Mervis would not rule out a similar product.

"We'll watch and see what happens," Mervis said. 

"We don't currently have any intention or plan to participate in that area but we'll never say never."

Click the links below to see the other parts of TheShout's exclusive interview with Ari Mervis:

Ari Mervis outlines CUB's category strategy

Hyped CCA better deliver: Ari Mervis

The Shout Team

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

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1 Comment

  1. I’d disagree that you build your brands on premise and sell your volume off premise. If that were the case then parallel imports such as Oettinger, Henninger etc would not have taken off as they have. Similarly the craft beer brewers, who rarely get a tap in the mainstream pubs and rely on off premises bottle sales, would not be constantly improving their market share. CUB proved the point with trying to grow Fosters Lager by putting it on tap in Australia about 20 years ago. Result: a once popular beer is now virtually extinct.

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