wholesale perspective

The top 10 is fairly consistent with last year’s rankings, as you would expect from a mature category. Only Miller (despite being 26% down) has climbed into the top 10 at the expense of Skol, which relates to significant decline of low strength lagers across the total market.

All the brands historically traded on the black market (Carling, Fosters and Carlsberg in particular) are showing great growth as legitimately sourced stock is competitive again. Sales of Stella have struggled against a good year in 2006. Inbev’s non-trading strategy on the brand is not helping, and neither is imported Stella, which is still available in the market at duty fraud pricing.

Lower down in the top 10, our figures reflect the trading strategies of a couple of members. BA trades Oranjeboom very aggressively almost like a premium exclusive brand. The Stones performance reflects the size and influence of Parfetts depots in the brand’s area of regional strength.

Budweiser sales are performing well through our retailers at +14%, reflecting the success of the everyday availability of price-marked packs. Brand performance is being held back by poor sales to our caterers, however, at -14%. Our caterers (predominantly the on trade) are able to access some pretty aggressive pricing through the on trade wholesalers.

Catering customers produce a very different top 10 to the overall business with Budweiser at number one. Also included are Corona, Holsten Pils, Becks, MGD and Red Stripe, all heavily influenced by the on trade.

The significant change across the category this year has been the way the Government and the brewers have tackled the duty fraud issue. The Government eventually lost patience with the enormous loss of tax revenue (estimated to be as much as pound;5bn a year) and as a result it is challenging every claim for duty draw back, and rejecting a significant percentage.

Likewise the brewers are now all successfully managing their sales to limit the opportunity of product getting into the black market. For example, Coors is only delivering into a customer’s primary point of business and not making deliveries into third party bonds. S N and Inbev are only supplying to forecast and are not prepared to support fraudsters with any duty documentation.

This has had the effect of making it very hard to buy defrauded stock on the wholesale market, and very difficult for disreputable C C operators to base their strategy around selling stock at defrauded pricing levels.

As a result Landmark members can now resume selling the brands to our customers at sensible pricing levels and strategically develop sales through to the consumer. This return to sensible pricing also opens the door for the brewers to develop new innovative products.

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=== Top 10 Beer by Volume Variance over last year ===

1. Carling 30%

2. Stella -6%

3. Foster’s 21%

4. Budweiser 8%

5. Carlsberg 14%

6. Grolsch 17%

7. Carlsberg Export -24%

8. Oranjeboom -5%

9. Stones -6%

10. Miller -26%

Source: Landmark Wholesale’s EIS

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