Belfast Telegraph

Tennents tops most popular poll

By Andrea Clements

Tennents is the most popular draught lager beer in Northern Ireland, according to the latest research.

International market research company AC Nielsen has shown the brand to be the leader in its field, following the launch of Tennents Ice Cold here last year.

The new product aims to cater for what the company terms " a consumer need for colder draught lager".

It was piloted in Northern Ireland before being rolled out across the rest of the UK.

Last year saw a record growth in Tennents' share of the market in Ireland, something which has pleased senior brand manager Jonathan Gillbanks.

That success has been predominately driven by sales in Northern Ireland, he said.

But the company, which declined to release specific sales figures for Northern Ireland, is not complacent.

Mr Gillbanks said: "We want to remain anchored to our customers. That's what we have to do ultimately to maintain appeal as tastes change so often.

" Success for us is being able to offer a broader repertoire, not just targeting lager loyalists. Customers are continually looking for something new."

Tennents lager was produced by the Bass Brewery on the Glen Road in west Belfast until a cutback in 2003.

Now it comes from the Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow, but the company, owned by Belgian group InBev, still has a warehouse and logistics operation in Belfast.

A specific draught is brewed for Northern Ireland with an alcohol volume of 3.7% compared with the 4.1% Scottish drinkers buy as research has shown it to be what local consumers want, Mr Gillbanks said.

The Tennents brand received a boost last week thanks to the Tennents Vital festival in Ormeau Park.

The event, now in its sixth year, attracted up to 25,000 music-lovers each night and was a sell-out.

Mr Gillbanks said Tennents wanted to become more involved in creating local events and to this end has planned Ice Cold Music sessions for October in the Potthouse bar in the centre of Belfast.

It also plans to run events at venues in Londonderry, Newcastle and Letterkenny which have yet to be finalised.

Mr Gillbanks said: "Vital is going from strength to strength and we want to further our music involvement as we feel we have a strong area of relevance for our consumers and brand.

"T in the Park has been voted the best UK festival and we see Vital mirroring that in terms of the feel and vibe and the same love of live music and being outdoors.

" Instead of just badging events we want to be creating them and maintaining a strong identity in live music."

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