The new 200ml Foster's Shortie bottles, released in the UK, reflect growing efforts by lager companies to attract women to what are traditionally regarded as male orientated brands. But with the growth in flavoured alcoholic beverages (FABs), particularly those targeted at women, it will be hard to attract significant market share through this route.

Following the recent launches of 'stubby' lager bottles by Heineken and Budweiser, Scottish Courage is launching what is believed to be the smallest lager bottle in the UK market, under the Foster's brand. Initially sold in sets of 20, the packs are likely to retail between £8.99 and £9.99.

In an attempt to generate product interest, it is expected that the launch will be supported by a "major advertising blitz". Consumers can therefore expect to see a big shift in emphasis from the current advertising message, which appeals to the brand's core male consumers aged 45 and under.

The product and its new marketing program are indicative of how lager makers are becoming increasingly interested in the potential to capitalize upon higher female alcohol consumption. In particular, the bottles are likely to be targeted towards female 'occasion' drinkers. With summer barbecues coinciding with the marketing push, Scottish Courage seems to have given itself a good platform for the launch.

The interest in targeting female drinkers comes at a time when there is a strong desire amongst manufacturers and retailers of beers to search for new avenues for growth. The lager market has traditionally focused on the male drinker, but with the rise of 'ladette culture' and the increasing economic independence of women as more of them enter the labour market, the female drinker is proving a lucrative new opportunity.

However, Foster's Shorties face a difficult task in attracting female consumers who have been a major influence behind the significant growth seen in FABs. Furthermore, a proliferation of products in this category has led to an increasingly saturated but competitive market. It is likely the next few months will see some aggressive marketing from all players in alcoholic beverages, with the consumer set to benefit from numerous product promotions.

Related Research: Datamonitor, "Designer Alcoholic Drinks, 2001" (DMCM0049)