By Andy Young

Lion will become a Gold Partner of Cricket Australia and the Australian Men’s team with its XXXX Gold beer brand, replacing Victoria Bitter.

Earlier this week TheShout reported that Carlton & United Breweries was ending its 20-year association with VB and Cricket Australia.

The Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, welcomed Lion as a commercial partner.

“Lion is one of Australia’s largest food and beverage companies, with quality products and a well-deserved reputation for corporate responsibility. XXXX Gold is the number one mid-strength beer in the country and will be a great moderation choice for fans attending our games. Lion and Cricket Australia both have a relationship with DrinkWise Australia and we look forward to working collaboratively to promote a positive drinking culture at games, where fans never miss a moment of the action."

Lion's Marketing Director, Ben Slocombe, added: “Mid-strength beers are a popular fixture in stadiums and other venues around the country and we are proud to bring the number one mid-strength in the country, XXXX Gold, to cricket fans to enjoy responsibly. Lion has invested for decades in mid-strength beers, which provide consumers with credible options to moderate consumption. Today 1 in 4 beers consumed in Australia are lower than full strength.

“We are looking forward to working with Cricket Australia to further engage our shared audience of adult beer drinkers and cricket fans behind this great mid-strength beer.”

The partnership is for four years and begins on 1 July and will see Lion’s beers stocked at all CA official functions, along with designated signage at stadiums. The partnership does not include any branding of player clothing.

The partnership has been welcomed by Alcohol Beverages Australia, with Executive Director Fergus Taylor acknowledging the industry’s long history of support of Australian sport.

“Enjoying a drink with mates at a sports game is part of Australia’s DNA and the industry is rightly proud of its sponsorship of Australian sport, from the smallest local clubs right up to our national teams,” Taylor said.

He added: “Recent calls from anti-alcohol activists and health lobbyists for a ban on alcohol advertising in sport, while attempting to blame it as the cause of underage drinking are not based on credible evidence, nor are they supported by official government data.

“The reality is that underage drinking is in steady decline throughout Australia and has been for some time – official government statistics confirm this. The fact that this decline has occurred during a period of increased alcohol advertising is a clear indication that regulations in place are working well.

“Alcohol advertising and marketing does not target minors and does not encourage underage drinking or irresponsible consumption of alcohol. Before any content is seen by the public, the alcohol industry does an enormous amount of work to ensure this is the case.

“In Australia, alcohol advertising and marketing is vigorously and successfully regulated by a strict, independent, government-backed system in the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code. Further stringent regulations exist in federal competition and consumer legislation and state fair trading legislation, the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics and the Outdoor Media Association Code of Ethics.

“While there is no credible evidence showing causal effect between alcohol advertising and underage drinking, through initiatives such as DrinkWise, the industry is targeting the established causes of underage drinking – parental behaviour and peer influence – through campaigns informing parents their drinking behaviours can influence their children’s attitudes to drinking.

“Continuing downward trends in underage drinking is an important national responsibility, and the alcohol industry is committed to ensuring this continues to occur.”

The Shout Team

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

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