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Skinny's new look: aluminium bottles considered a good solution for the on-trade.

Skinny Brands goes into draught, embraces aluminium bottles

Skinny Brands is launching its low-calorie lager on draught. Brewed under licence at Cameron’s, it will be available in the Hartlepool brewer’s pubs from the end of May.

The move follows the introduction of 330ml recyclable aluminium bottles for sale at festivals and events through the summer.

“A pint is just 149 calories, and we have designed a very nickable branded ‘lifestyle’ glass for it,” said Skinny’s founder and sales director Gary Conway.

In its first six months Skinny Lager sold two million bottles, Conway added. Its distribution is still growing as Morrisons has joined Tesco and Asda as a supermarket stockist, with Skinny destined for 350 stores.

The aluminium bottles are an environmentally-friendly alternative to the plastic cups used at outdoor occasions and follow the withdrawal of plastic straws that have swept the licensed trade in the past few months.

They will be on trial at events including the Wolf Run Series, British Beach Rugby, Cowes Week and the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Skinny plans to follow up by rolling them out into pubs, bars and restaurants.

Conway concedes that aluminium bottles are considerably more expensive than glass, costing £3.60 more for a case, but believes drinkers will accept the higher price.

“The consumer will probably end up paying 20p or 25p more for a bottle, so it’s quite significant.

“But aluminium has a lot of advantages. We needed a solution for the on-trade where they can’t serve in glass, and this is a good option. The pack looks great too, I think, it has the ‘what’s that?’ effect.

“The consumer is going to be paying more for beer at events anyway. In my experience people are willing to pay a little bit more in that kind of environment. And it’s in everyone’s interest that the cost comes down as more aluminium bottles are produced.”

The only difference when it comes to packaging, he added, is that aluminium has to go on a slower bottling line.

Conway believes that, while still behind markets such as the United States and Australia, the UK is beginning to switch on to low calorie beers.

“All the consumer trends are going that way. Without a doubt the millennial generation want something different from a beer, more functional benefits.

“And we offer everything in one bottle - low calorie, low sugar, low carb, gluten-free, vegan-friendly and kosher-certified, while still being 4% abv. Previous low-calorie beers have cut the abv, or been patronising to women.”

Skinny Lager’s special brewing process took two years to perfect, Conway said, “but we’re not giving away any secrets.”

Phil Mellows
8th June 2018

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