Aldi’s 21st in-store Scottish Beer Festival is back. Julia Bryce finds out what getting involved means to local brewers.
The Scottish beer scene, like many other industries, has faced intense disruption during lockdown, mainly due to bars and restaurants closing.
But, many brewers have seen a lift in orders online, as well as increased sales from lines available within supermarkets.
While many shoppers rushed to get loaves of bread and packets of pasta, a number turned to stocking up beer reserves, worried supplies would run dry.
German discount supermarket Aldi has been supportive of local producers in Scotland, running numerous in-store festivals throughout the year.
And this year’s Scottish Beer Festival, which is currently taking place in 91 stores, is no different. Showcasing 30 craft beers from 13 regional breweries, customers and beer fans are in for a treat when it comes to enjoying a range of brews from all corners of the country. And with a deal worth £85,000 to the breweries involved, it seems like a win-win.
But what is actually in it for those participating, and just how beneficial are in-store campaigns of this kind for the breweries involved?
Recently, the Society of Independent Brewers warned that craft breweries were being hit hard due to coronavirus lockdown measures causing them to lose a significant amount of sales to pubs and restaurants. But as one door closes, another opens, and this is exactly why initiatives like Aldi’s Scottish Beer Festival may be fundamental to some business’s survival.
Andrew Champman, director of sales and marketing at Consolidated Craft Breweries Ltd based in Dundee says it couldn’t have come at a better time with two of their brands Keith Brewery and Spey Valley Brewery in Moray both participating in the festival.
Other brands the firm boasts in its portfolio include Alechemy, Firkin Express, Speyside Spirits, Brewmeister and Snake Venom.
He said: “It is extremely important for us to be involved in initiatives like this, especially in the current environment. The brewing industry and the wider hospitality industry almost ground to a halt earlier this year. While we have had to adapt our direct B2C (business to customer) route to market during the current uncertainty, the opportunity from Aldi to increase our consumer reach and brand awareness within Scotland has been very welcome and appreciated.
“Being involved benefits us in a number of ways. Beyond the obvious increase in sales, the free marketing and advertising opportunity is massive. Aldi have a social media reach of over one million people across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On top of this, they have print advertising across many national papers and magazines. If we wanted to do a similar promotional campaign ourselves, the cost to implement the same consumer reach would be well into the tens of thousands of pounds.”
Getting involved in the Aldi iniative for a fifth time, Andrew says he would like to see other supermarkets run similar campaigns.
He added: “Initiatives like the in-store festival are a great way to get our brand out there. This is about the fifth time we have been involved, each time providing different styles of beer. The benefit of a set period listing is that we can rotate our SKU’s (stock keeping units) throughout the year, giving the customer more variety, more options and hopefully more fun.
“Aldi have been very supportive of the Scottish craft beer industry, having sponsored The Scottish Beer Awards since their creation in 2016. It is great to know that an International brand is fighting our corner.
“It would be great to see other large supermarket chains doing similar and hosting set period listings for multiple breweries and their beers. However, I am realistic and appreciate that the organisation and implementation of such a strategy would be extremely difficult. However, there are now over 2,200 breweries in the UK, many of whom do not get the opportunity to promote themselves on a national level.”
But does being involved mean masses of sales, or is an initiative like this a slow burner and mainly used for promotion? Andrew says involvement has seen both firms’ turnovers increase year on year.
He said: “There is the initial and short-term increase in sales from Aldi. Medium to long term you hope to see a general increase in sales for the listed SKUs (and our other beers) as we increase our following off the back of the festival. Since starting in 2015, we have seen an increase in our annual turnover and volume every year, and we have been involved with the event every year since 2016.”e
Offering everything from hoppy pale ales to sweet stouts and refreshing pilsners, shoppers have plenty to work their way through and enjoy.
Robert Lindsay, owner of owner of Six °North in Aberdeenshire echoes both Andrew’s comments and is adamant projects and initiatives supporting and showcasing the Scottish beer industry can only be a good thing.
He said: “We are delighted to showcase our beers in the Aldi craft beer festival once again. They do a great job of promoting Scottish beer to a wider audience, shining a light on our amazing wee industry.
“The festival is a brilliant way of introducing our products to new customers across Scotland and it is an event we look forward to each year.
“The sales from the festival are very strong and have led to multiple listings with Aldi in the past.”
All beers available during the festival
St Andrews Brewing Co.
- Pale Ale, £1.49, (330ml, 4.5% ABV)
- Yippie IPA, £1.79, (330ml, 6% ABV)
William Bros Brewing Co
- Che Guava, £1.79 (500ml, 3.5% ABV)
- Tin Man, £1.89, (500ml, 5.5% ABV)
- Easy Shift, £1.49 (330ml, 4.5% ABV)
- Cranachan Killer, £1,69, (330ml, 5.5% ABV)
- Dirty Sanchez, £1.79, (330ml, 6.5% ABV)
- Moose Mouse, £1.49, (330ml, 4.5% ABV)
Six Degrees North
- Wanderlust, £1.69, (330ml, 4.6% ABV)
- Brevet, £1.79, (330ml, 6% ABV)
- Pale Keith, £1.69, (330ml, 5.0% ABV)
- Spey Valley Brewery 1814 Lager, £1.69, (330ml, 5.0% ABV)
- Wat-er Peach, £1.49, (330ml, 4.5% ABV))
- Chilloozy, £1.49, (330ml, 3.7% ABV)
- Moyo Juice, £1.49, (330ml, 3.9% ABV)
- Vermont Sessions, £1.69, (330ml, 4.6% ABV)
- Elemental, £1.69, (330ml, 5.1% ABV)
- Long White Cloud, £1.69, (330ml, 5.4% ABV)
- Sneaky Wee Orkney, £1.69, (500ml, 4.2% ABV)
- Munich Red, £1.69, (330ml, 4.9% ABV)
- Heidi-Weisse, £1.69, (330ml, 5.2% ABV)
- GPA, £1.69, (330ml, 5.2% ABV)
- Marshmallow Milk Stout, £1.79, (330ml, 7.4% ABV)
- Sherbet, £1.49, (330ml, 4.2% ABV)
- Fire in the Disco, £1.69, (330ml, 5.1% ABV)
- Camera Obscura, £1.79, (330ml, 4.8% ABV)
- Rancho Rosa, £1.49, (330ml, 4.2% ABV)
- Jarl, £1.69, (500ml, 3.8% ABV)
- Hurricane Jack, £1.69, (500ml, 4.4% ABV)
- Highlander, £1.79, (500ml, 4.8% ABV)