UK: Heineken to stand firm on Amstel relaunch

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Heineken will look to resist any moves from retailers to cut the price of Amstel as it relaunches the brand in the UK off-trade.

Amstel is to return to the UK off-trade following a four-year absence after Heineken saw a rise in the brand's draught sales throughout the country.

Competition in packaged lager remains fierce in the UK but Heineken believes that Amstel, with an abv of 4.1%, can encourage drinkers to buy a premium beer not sold at a strength of 5%, without getting involved in supermarket discounting.

Toby Shaw, brand manager for Amstel, acknowledged Heineken could not completely control the brand's price in UK supermarkets.

However, Shaw told just-drinks today (17 October) that Heineken had set "very strict parameters" on the price of Amstel. He said the brewer would not be afraid to switch retailers should the price of Amstel get too low.

He said: "The brand is more important to us than price and the long-term health of the brand is more important to us than volume."

Shaw said Heineken had decided to relaunch Amstel as UK consumers were starting to drink premium beers that were of a slightly lower strength, including brands like Beck's Vier.

The brewer, he added, wanted to communicate Amstel's laid-back "continental attitude" to UK consumers, who had often drank the brand in Europe on holiday.

Amstel will be available at retailers including Asda and Morrisons at around GBP4.78 (US$8.94) of six 330ml bottles.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Heineken

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