Stag hopes to buck the trend for lighter beers

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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LOCAL liquor distiller J Wray and Nephew is hoping to win its space back in the local beer market with the recently launched Stag beer.

"We are looking to grow it. It would be remiss of me to make specific mention of that since it's a developing brand, but you're talking a fairly substantial market," managing director Clement Lawrence told the Jamaica Observer during the launch of the newest addition to its core spirits and wines portfolio on Tuesday.

"There is no Caribbean beer on the market, only foreign beer. Why not a Caribbean beer?" he stated, noting that there is room for more players in the local market.

J Wray and Nephew, popularly known for its line of world-acclaimed rums, has re-entered the brewed category market with Stag -- a European-style beer made by the makers of Carib Beer out of Trinidad. The company pulled its beer production back in 2010 when the market declined, but admits that the addition of Stag affords it an opportunity to have a complete portfolio of alcoholic beverages in the marketplace, with a wider cross-section of Jamaican consumers.

Stag's alcohol volume percentage stands at 5.5 per cent and it is touted as having a crisp flavour and clean finish. The beer will be available islandwide come next month and will compete against market leader Red Stripe.

J Wray & Nephew commenced negotiations to divest non-spirits assets and distribution prior to becoming a part of Gruppo Campari. As such, the company has made it its strategic focus to operate as the leading spirits and alcoholic beverages company in Jamaica.

"Stag is a Caribbean beer, and being an English-speaking Caribbean country, there is an overlap of taste palettes between nations. With this, it was an obvious opportunity to introduce this strong brewed beverage brand to our local market," Lawrence told the Business Observer, in reference to the preferred partnership with Carib Beer.

Despite low sales from the previous beer, Kingston 62, J Wray and Nephew anticipates that Stag will "grow from strength to strength" as brand-building activities take effect.

"It's not a matter of comparing it to what we had before; we had a Pilsner beer before, but this is a different style beer. This beer has been getting some good reviews so far and we think over time we are going to have a lot of adorers," he said.

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