According to The Publican, that venerable journal of the UK licensed trade, InBev are crying into their beer over the Young’s Pub Company delisting of Stella Artois from their 200+ strong pub chain. I'm not a lager drinker, but I welcome this one small victory against the brewing giant of the colloquially named "wife beater."
This can be seen, partially, as a triumph for beer from source for, as Adam Withrington¹ of The Publican reports, Young's are replacing the UK "brewed under licence" Stella with imported Heineken, Amstel and Pilsner Urquell. What appears to have rattled InBev is that Young’s are reportedly shifting slightly up-market with their pubs, a process of "premiumisation" (what a horrible word...err...is it a word?) and don’t see that there is a place for Stella in their brave new world.
Inbev likes to portray Stella as the ultimate premium lager (is that bordering on tautology?) referring to it as, "reassuringly expensive." But every sane, non-tabloid reading person knows that it's just Euro-fizz with a flashy label and shed loads of advertising heaped on top. In an arrogant fashion, InBev are reported as saying:
We are still three times bigger than our nearest competitor, and a mark of a premium product is the number of people that are willing to pay more for that brand.Haven't they heard that you can't fool all of the people all of the time? Equally as arrogant is their riposte to what they see as a minute loss of custom: "We can often win that number of new customers in less than a day." The golden rule for any business is never take your customers for granted.
I’m sure that Young’s move is more than just the publicity stunt that InBev suggests. They’ve seen the way the market is going with sales of real ale rising and yob-lager decreasing and clearly they are trying to stay ahead of the game. Good on you Young's!
¹[Ed.: Surely he's too young to drink himself!]