THIS WEEK: New lager team for Whitbread

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.

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-

Tetley.



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

months.



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.



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