IRELAND: Diageo adds premium lager to its portfolio

By Chris Brook-Carter | 4 December 2002

Diageo, the world's largest drinks group, has won the rights to distribute Warsteiner, the premium German lager, on the Irish market, sources close to the company have revealed to just-drinks.

Warsteiner is the premium, flagship brand of German brewer the Warsteiner Group, based in Warstein. The beer is available in 60 markets worldwide, but its most important export markets to date are Italy, the USA and the Netherlands.

Diageo are looking to position the beer in the super-premium category in Ireland and will aim for the 25- to 35-year-old male market.

It will be distributed to both the on- and off-trade.
 
Although the Irish beer market is still dominated by Diageo subsidiary Guinness, the stout brand has been loosing market share to lager beers in the recent years. Indeed while stout claims some 40% of the beer market in the country, lager now accounts for 52%.

Within the lager category itself, it is the international brands that have been driving the market, with national brands losing out to the likes of Budweiser, Heineken and Carlsberg.

Furthermore, it has been the two ends of the price spectrum - premium and price beaters -that have grown most, at the expense of more mainstream brands.

Companies: Diageo, Heineken, Carlsberg

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