Just a Marketing Term

Coronet Pale Ale advertisement, 1950s.

It starts as ‘just a marketing term’, probably describing something that has been around for decades.

Super­mar­ket buy­ers like the ‘mar­ket­ing term’, so it becomes a ‘cat­e­go­ry’.

The ‘cat­e­go­ry’ begets aisles and arti­cles and awards.

Exist­ing busi­ness­es devel­op ‘strate­gies’ to get a slice of the ‘cat­e­go­ry’.

New busi­ness­es emerge spe­cial­is­ing in it.

Even­tu­al­ly, the ‘cat­e­go­ry’ is worth £X mil­lions per year and employs X thou­sand peo­ple.

Just a mar­ket­ing term?

(We’ve been writ­ing about the emer­gence of ‘pre­mi­um bot­tled ales’ in the nine­teen-nineties, and reflect­ing on the com­ments here.)

8 thoughts on “Just a Marketing Term”

  1. I don’t think this was some­thing that had been around for decades, though. My rec­ol­lec­tion is that it was the late 80s or even ear­ly 90s before you began to see any sin­gle 500 ml ale bot­tles in the super­mar­kets, and for quite a while after that it was only a small sec­tion. It was effec­tive­ly an entire­ly new mar­ket seg­ment.

    1. Ha ha! We only put that bit in to head off any­one say­ing ‘Well, it was hard­ly a new thing!’ like they did when we sug­gest­ed ‘gold­en ales’ were a gen­uine inno­va­tion.

      There clear­ly were posh bot­tled beers for drink­ing at home before the nine­teen-nineties, though (the ad illus­trat­ing the post is from the mid-fifties) but not many, and there weren’t many bot­tled beers of any kind left by the late eight­ies. (Here’s Ron on that sub­ject using some fig­ures we sent his way.)

      1. In the mid-60s my dad used to take me in the off-licence in the local shop­ping parade as part of our reg­u­lar Sat­ur­day morn­ing shop. Bizarrely, I think the pur­pose of this vis­it was to buy salt­ed peanuts as he did­n’t rou­tine­ly drink beer at home. I remem­ber there being quite an array of bot­tled beers, most­ly halves, some pints, and I assume all return­able bot­tles. I par­tic­u­lar­ly recall the Younger’s bot­tles with a pic­ture of Edin­burgh Cas­tle.

        Fast-for­ward ten years and they would have been pret­ty much entire­ly replaced by cans.

        Pre­mi­um bot­tled ales of the Pedi­gree and Dou­ble Dia­mond type were of course an impor­tant part of pub drink­ing in the 1950s.

  2. Love the ad! Men dressed in jack­ets and ties just to watch a bit of tele! And the women no doubt, dressed to the nines in their posh­est of frocks as well.

    It’s easy to mock, but the adver­tis­ing com­pa­ny clear­ly want­ed to cre­ate an image of sophis­ti­ca­tion around this brand of pale ale, even if it is one which I don’t actu­al­ly remem­ber.

    Although I was born in the mid nine­teen fifties, my ear­li­est rec­ol­lec­tions are prob­a­bly from 1960 onward. Whilst my par­ents may well have dressed up when din­ing out, I don’t ever recall them, or their friends, doing so when vis­it­ing each oth­ers’ hous­es. Per­haps dress stan­dards and behav­iour were already chang­ing, even back then?

  3. I’m sure “mar­ket­ing” comes from indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion (XVIII?)
    “Cat­e­gories” comes from human brain.
    Learn think­ing with time as the 4rd dimen­sion, please.

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