The Carlsberg group is doing well everywhere, except in the United Kingdom: the Danish brewery has now started a remarkable advertising campaign to win back the British consumer.
"Not the best beer"
The recently launched campaign carries the slogan "We’re probably not the best beer in the world. So we’ve changed it". CEO Cees 't Hart explains that a few years ago, he lowered the alcohol volume of the beer to avoid having to pay excises, but the British consumer did not appreciate that change and the brand's market share plummeted. Still, the British market represents a fifth of Carlsberg's total volume.
Despite the British setback, 2018 was an excellent year for the Danish company: turnover increased by 6.5 % and net profits by 9 %. The good results are partly due to the CEO's clear vision for the future of the brewery group: investing in strong brands, while maintaining control over the costs. Carlsberg has even started purchasing its own shares, although the CEO admits that is partly because there is no real candidate for a takeover. The brewery is targeting local, strong brands for those takeovers. A few years ago, Carlsberg took a 17 % interest in Vietnamese brewery Habeco.
Strong turnover growth
The trend of last year has continued into the first quarter of 2019: the brewery group saw a strong turnover growth (+ 6.4 % on an organic basis) to 13.9 billion Danish crowns (1.9 billion euros). The increase came as the result of more volume, as well as higher prices. There was an increase in the sales of speciality beers, more expensive and alcohol-free beers.
The biggest growth was in Asia (+ 15.3 % organic growth), but in the UK sales were again disappointing. It remains to be seen whether the advertising campaign, which is currently going, will be able to turn the tide.