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AUS: Foster's Group plans beer launches

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Foster's Group plans to launch three new beers in Australia in an effort to capture market share by further tapping the trend for lighter beer styles.

Foster's confirmed to just-drinks today (20 October) that it will unveil the new beers to analysts at an investor day tomorrow.

The beers include Pure Blonde White, which the firm described as "an ‘Australian’ style low carbohydrate wheat lager", and Carlton Dry Fusion Black, described as "a full strength dry lager with citrus and spice" and part of the successful Carlton Dry Fusion family.

Foster's will also relaunch Super Crisp Lager by The Great Northern Brewing Co in order to eat into Lion Nathan's dominance in Queensland.

Foster's beer division, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), hopes that the beers will help to steady its volume market share, which has slipped to around 50% from 55% in 2005.

Competition on Australia's beer market has risen with growing interest from foreign players. Japan's Kirin Holdings last year acquired full control of the number two player, Lion Nathan, while SABMiller has increased its presence in the premium segment with Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

Consumers have also shifted rapidly to lighter-style beers. Paul Donaldson, marketing director for CUB's Victoria Bitter brand, told just-drinks earlier this year. "We've seen a 10-fold rise in [new] beers in the last ten years."

The CUB investor day tomorrow will be followed closely by analysts and rival brewers alike, ahead of Foster's' plan to demerge its wine and beer businesses in the first half of 2011.

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