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Scots’ Euros campaign boost sales of Tennent’s lager – and profits at C&C Group

Scotland's Lyndon Dykes , left, and England's Kalvin Phillips at the Euros.
Scotland's Lyndon Dykes , left, and England's Kalvin Phillips at the Euros.

Scotland’s participation in the Euros – the men’s team’s first major football tournament in 23 years – boosted sales of Tennent’s lager during the year to February.

C&C Group, the Irish company behind the brand, today posted a near-88% year-on-year jump in net sales for the period to £1.21 billion.

Pre-tax profits came in at £38.4 million, compared with losses of £102m in 2020-21, when pubs and the wider hospitality industry took a major hit from Covid lockdowns.

Fans react to Scotland’s game against Croatia at The Foundry, Aberdeen.

Scotland reached the Euros after a thrilling penalty shoot-out against Serbia, but came up against stiff opposition in the finals. Defeats by Czech Republic and Croatia sandwiched a heroic performance against the Auld Enemy, England, at Wembley.

The battling Scots held England to a 0-0 draw – an achievement made all the more impressive by their opponents’ eventual march to the final, where they lost to Italy on penalties.

Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, left, and England’s Mason Mount battle for the ball at Wembley.

Announcing its latest annual results, Dublin-based C&C Group reported a 26% jump in volume sales of Tennent’s in the year to February 28.

The company added: “Tennent’s performance was aided by Scotland qualifying for the first time in 23 years for a major football championship.

“Our multi-channel advertising campaign and associated on and off-trade promotional activity helped in part to drive brand health improvement.

Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall’s gloves on display at the Tennent’s visitor centre in Glasgow. Marshall wore them for the qualifying play-off penalty shoot-out against Serbia.

“Tennent’s off-trade volume share of 24% has fallen, compared with FY2021 (24.6%), a reflection of Tennent’s benefitting in the previous year from disruption that competitor brands experienced as well as growth of the premium category.

“Encouragingly though, FY2022 share is higher than FY2020 (22.9%). In the year, our Tennent’s lager IFT (independent free trade) on-trade volumes have recovered back to 74% of FY2020 levels, with direct delivered outlets recovering to 88% of FY2020.”

Scotland’s Scott McKenna, left, reacts after a missed chance during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match against Croatia.

Group chief executive David Forde said: “Following a period of unprecedented challenges for the hospitality sector, we are delighted to be back serving our customers and delivering our iconic and much-loved brands to our on-trade and off-trade partners.

“Encouraged by the reaction and resilience of the industry, we are pleased with how trading has recovered and the subsequent strength of customer and consumer demand, which we believe reflects the enduring importance of the on-trade and the role that it plays in our society.”

A Scotland fan looks in during another nail-biting moment at the Euros.

C&C Group is the leading drinks distributor to the UK and Irish hospitality sectors.

Its other brands include Bulmers and Magners ciders, as well as a range of fast-growing, premium and craft ciders and beers, such as Heverlee, Menabrea, Five Lamps and Orchard Pig.

The company exports its Magners and Tennent’s brands to more than 40 countries worldwide.

A cyber attack on its Bristol-based Matthew Clark wholesale business in April 2021 cost the group £2.19m.

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