God's Own Brewers Help Carlsberg Catch Up to Craft Beer Trend – Bloomberg

Paul Davies travels to Belgium every three months to pray with the fathers of Grimbergen Abbey. Beer drinkers answered his call in the first quarter, lifting shipments of Grimbergen ale by 25 percent.

The global head of craft and specialty beer at Carlsberg A/S is leaning on niche brands such as Grimbergen to try to reach drinkers increasingly shunning mass-market beers for small-batch brews. Beer from the abbey established in the 12th century plays a key role in the Danish company’s plan to expand sales of its higher-end brands, which are more profitable than its namesake lager.

In courting connoisseurs, Carlsberg is seeking to catch up to rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Heineken NV, which have been snapping up craft labels across the U.S. and other countries. The Danish beermaker is taking a different approach, seeking to breathe new life into established brands such as Grimbergen, which it has owned since 2008, while working with independent brewers to develop new ones.

The Carlsberg laboratory in Copenhagen.

Photographer: Thomas Buckley

“We’re creating our craft propositions not from the big-company machine down, but almost from the grass roots up,” Davies said in an interview at a brewhouse and bar for its Jacobsen brand in Copenhagen, where the company tests new beers with aromas of clove, spice and banana.

Russia Woes

Gaining share in the craft and specialty trade has become more vital for Carlsberg to offset a slump in Russia for its high-volume business. It’s that country’s largest brewer, controlling more than one-third of beer sales through its acquisition of Baltika Breweries in 2012. Carlsberg forecasts Russia’s market will contract by about 5 percent amid restrictions on the size of plastic bottles and an economic downturn.

Carlsberg’s sales in the first quarter beat analyst estimates in part due to

Read More Here...

This entry was posted in Beer Alcohol Stocks News. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.