Whitbread has created a new marketing team to head up its lager
portfolio as part of a push for flagship brands Stella Artois and
Heineken, and its newly acquired Labatt Brewing brands.
New product development marketing controller Ruth Fisher will be
promoted to marketing controller for lagers this month. She will report
to marketing director John Derkach. Tracy Darwen, NPD marketing manager,
becomes marketing manager for lagers.
The performance of Whitbread’s lager brands is vital in its fight
against brewing giants Scottish Courage and a merged Bass and Carlsberg-
Whitbread has allocated pounds 15m to its Stella brand which overtook
Carling Black Label in off-trade sales last year. Heineken has a budget
of pounds 10m. Whitbread bought the Labatt’s bottled beer brands in May
and will announce marketing plans next month.
Fisher and Darwen have headed a rapid expansion of Whitbread’s NPD
portfolio over the past year, bringing out 13 products within eight
Launches have included the alcoholic energy drink, Wild Brew, which will
now be rolled out nationally (Marketing, May 22). Its bourbon and beer
mix, Kentucky, has not been received as well in tests and Whitbread says
it is now unlikely to roll it out. Arkangel, a lager and vodka mix, is
being reformulated and Whitbread still plans a nationwide launch.
The change in responsibility for lagers follows the appointment of Mike
Dowell, former marketing director for lagers, stouts and sponsorships to
managing director of Whitbread’s Costa Coffee.