Asahi is relaunching Grolsch Premium Pilsner back into the UK, with a new look and formula.

At the brand’s launch this morning, Tim Clay, managing director at Asahi, said it plans to become a ‘top ten premium lager brand’ in the UK within three years.

The pilsner will now have an ABV of 4%, as opposed to 5%, driven by more consumers opting for lighter alcohol options, while being ‘double brewed’ using two hop varieties for bitterness and aroma, blended with two types of Dutch malt, and Enschede’s original Dutch spring water source.

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The supplier said it was taken out of the UK market 12 months ago when the joint venture between Asahi and Molson Coors came to an end. This new recipe and ABV will be only be used for Grolsch in the UK.

Alongside the reformulation, the updated packaging will now focus on the brand’s Dutch provenance, as well as putting focus on its ‘swing-top’ bottle, which is available on its 450ml format.

Other formats available to convenience retailers include a 330ml crown cap, 440ml crown cap (from March 2021), 500ml cans and a range of multipack formats. There will be no Grolsch gift sets available this year as the supplier will focus its efforts on distribution and brand awareness.

To support the relaunch, the supplier is investing £3m behind a new campaign over the next 12 months, of which £2.1m will be spent on digital, outdoor, video-on-demand (VoD) and social media.

The supplier added that while social media advertising will commence in October 2020, VoD, digital and outdoor advertising will take place from March 2021. Convenience retailers will also be able to get their hands on newly designed PoS.

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Clay added that the premium lager category is currently worth £5.1bn in the UK, growing at 3.5%. Within this, lager with an ABV of 4% is outperforming the category, growing at 10%.

When asked about the economics of launching a new brand to market amid a pandemic, the company’s sales director Steve Young said across the industry, there has been a trend towards premium options, and beer is no different.

“For convenience retailers, its good to have a strong range within this segment to maximise the commercial opportunity,” he added.

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