Carlsberg have decided to distribute Polish lager Okocim on tap, across the UK.
Okocim is not an especially exciting beer. It is not even the best Polish lager – and Polish lagers are a sorry bunch, to be honest.
It’s an attempt to tap into the market for “world lagers” – a bizarre sub-category much loved by chain pubs, which includes San Miguel, Kirin Ichiban, Peroni and so on.
I wish someone would distribute Jever Pils, for example, or Kostrizer Schwarzbier. That would be news.
Today’s issue of Marketing Week carries a story about Heineken, who are apparently relaunching in the UK with a more “continental” image. They want people to drink Heineken in smaller measures, with a thicker head, as a “premium beer”.
This won’t do anything about the actual taste of their beer – it’s still “cooking lager” – but it is an interesting step away from British lager culture.
Marketing Week also points out how badly Heineken goofed when they relaunched last time, putting their beer’s ABV up to 5% just when everyone got upset about binge-drinking. They spent a fortune on announcing “new, stronger Heineken”, and then a year or so later their competitors were all announcing, for example, “new, weaker Becks”, or Stella, or Carling.
They’re also announcing a new “draught keg” for home use. Er… Party Seven?
According the BBC News Online, SABMiller’s profits are up by 14%. This is partly down to healthy sales of Polish lager in the UK.
We haven’t been particularly impressed with Polish lager. But I guess it gives people the sense of drinking something exotic – a “world beer” – without having to accomodate any “weird tastes”.