Carlsberg is one of the headline sponsors of Euro 2012

Carlsberg is one of the headline sponsors of Euro 2012

Carlsberg has hailed its sponsorship of the European Football Championships a success, despite stricter abv laws in Poland, bad weather and attempts by other brewers to exploit the tournament.

Earlier today (22 June), the brewer boasted of strong sales in the eight stadia hosting the championships, which started two weeks ago and ends on 1 July, in Poland and Ukraine. Speaking exclusively to just-drinks this morning, however, Carsten Buhl, Carlsberg's senior sponsorships project manager, highlighted that the brewer has not enjoyed a trouble-free tournament so far.

The recent introduction of a 'mass event law' in Poland saw the setting of a maximum abv of 3.5% for beer in the country's 'fan zones' during the tournament. The Carlsberg brand in Europe has an abv of 5.2% in western Europe.

“It was easy to solve for us,” said Buhl. “We have a very good 3.5% beer that we brew in Sweden. That's turned out to be working very well for us.”

While stadium sales have performed well, outstripping volumes from the same tournament four years ago with a week left to run, poor weather in Poland has also hampered Carlberg's performance in the host country. “As a result, fan zone sales have been mixed,” noted Buhl. “Per capita consumption in the fan zones might come in slightly lower than four years ago.”

When asked about guerilla marketing from rival brewers, Buhl said: “We haven't seen a systemic approach (by brewers) trying to enter the stadium. What we have seen is that – especially the beer brands that sponsor the teams that have qualified – many brands have been working hard to get some equity and leverage out of the tournament without infringing on our intellectual property (IP) rights in general.”

Buhl highlighted activities by Zywiec Group's Polish beer brand, Warka, as being the closest to guerilla marketing. “Over the last year, we have seen a couple of activities (in Poland) where we feel they (Warka) have got a little bit too close to our IP rights,” he said.

“They've been quite aggressive in the way they have gone about some of their promotional activities: There was use of the official stadia, they found creative ways of using the number 2012 – they gave away 2,012 prizes, they held the prize draw at 2012 in the evening. We felt that they were maybe going a little bit too far.”

The Euro 2012 tournament continues this evening, when Germany face Greece in the second quarter-final, with the final taking place in Kiev next Sunday.