Faced with falling beer sales in key markets, iconic Australian beer brand Foster’s is looking to lose its blokey image and appeal more to female drinkers. Foster’s was bought by global drinks giant SABMiller three years ago for $16.7 billion but has struggled to rebuild itself.
Beer consumption in Australia fell 1 per cent during the second quarter of 2014, in China sales declined 3 per cent due to bad weather in peak summer months, while in the broader Asian-Pacific region volumes fell 8 per cent during the three months to the end of September.
SABMiller chief executive Alan Clark said “financial performance has been affected by ongoing foreign currency movements as well as weaker second-quarter trading conditions in China and Australia.” However, he believed the company had a strategy to expand beer’s appeal.
SABMiller marketing director Nick Fell told an investor conference that “we know there’s untapped potential in beer and it’s time to change the image of beer as just a drink for guys watching sport. Why shouldn’t beer be a great choice with food or something that has much more appeal for women?” He conceded it will take time to achieve.
While beer consumption has fallen to levels not seen since World War II, craft beer is going against the trend. Sales have been growing between 10 and 15 per cent a year for the past five years and the category now accounts for about 4 per cent of the total beer market.