By James Atkinson
Crown Golden Ale stays true to the key brand attributes of Crown Lager and so has a better chance of succeeding than CUB’s predecessor brand extensions, according to Richard Oppy, general manager of Crown Lager and Victoria Bitter.
Available nationwide as of this week, Crown Golden Ale immediately brought to mind CUB’s recent Vic Pale Lager brand extension, which was swiftly deleted once SABMiller was on the scene. And as pointed out by Australian Brews News, Crown itself has previously had two abortive offshoots in Crown Pilsner and Crown Gold Lager.
Oppy (pictured) told TheShout the previous Crown extensions were before his time in the role. “I’m not aware of the detail around them and the way they went to market,” he said.
But in relation to Vic Pale Lager, he said CUB had erred in deserting Victoria Bitter’s brand promise of being “the big cold beer for a hard-earned thirst”.
“I think with Vic Pale Lager we actually moved away from that and moved towards an easier drinking style of beer targeting young adults, rather than staying true to our position and making it relevant to the blokes of today. That’s what we’ve tried to do since we’ve restored the brand and gone back to the big cold beer," he said.
Oppy said time will tell whether Crown Golden Ale goes the distance, but it “certainly feels like the brother of Crown Lager”.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure Crown Lager has Australia’s finest ingredients. The backbone of this brand extension is very similar. It’s still got the highest grade malt, it’s got the first choice of Pride of Ringwood hops, which is part of the brand’s genetic makeup," he said.
“But obviously being an ale it uses an ale yeast rather than a lager yeast, and we’ve also added Galaxy hop to the Crown Golden Ale that gives you that fruity aroma up front and slightly sweeter taste," he said.
Oppy said CUB purposely didn’t want the beer to be “too complex or too chewy”, as is the case with some of the golden ales on the market in the craft segment.
“The brief to our brewmasters was to make sure it was an approachable, easy drinking and refreshing ale,” he said.
Crown Golden Ale is available through BWS and Dan Murphy’s, Virgin Australia lounges and starting next month, a number of premium bars and pubs, in bottle only – for now.
“At this stage we’re not planning for it to go on tap. Depending on the demand and the performance, we’ll have a look at that down the track as a potential opportunity,” Oppy said.
The launch of Crown Golden Ale follows the recent overhaul of Crown Lager, which Oppy reiterated is still tracking in line with CUB's expectations, in spite of its recent volume decline.