Carst and Walker

Grolsch comes to SA

SAB has launched Grolsch in South Africa, the first country outside Europe to bring the premium Dutch lager to market following the acquisition of Royal Grolsch by SABMiller some four months ago.

Grolsch will be available in South Africa in its iconic 450ml swing-top bottle and the 330ml flat-sided crown top through on- and off-trade premises from 23 June. Both formats will be imported from the Grolsch brewery in Holland.

Earlier this year, SABMiller announced its intention to move Grolsch into South Africa as part of its strategy to build on premium sector growth in key emerging beer markets.The release into South Africa comes three months ahead of initial expectations. 

“The South African market stood out as an obvious first choice to launch the brand for SABMiller,” said Tony van Kralingen, MD of SAB Ltd. “South Africa has one of the fastest-growing consumer markets for premium beer. Our existing distribution and sales network makes Grolsch’s entry into South Africa, and its ready and wide accessibility, much easier.”   

Van Kralingen added that given the rapid changes in consumer demand and a changing economic landscape in South Africa, the brewer had placed an increasing and more concentrated focus on innovation.The result is an increased capacity to introduce new brands, brand extensions and innovations into the local market.

“Introducing Grolsch now is part of our responsiveness to changing consumer preferences and we have enormous faith in the potential of this brand’s appeal to a growing premium-drinking consumer base,” says Anne Stephens, SAB’s Head of Marketing Innovation.

She said SAB believes there is a gap in the premium sector as evidenced by double-digit growth in the premium beer sector over the past few years. 

She added that there had been noticeable shifts in premium beer preferences during the last year in particular.Hansa Marzen Gold reached record volumes in a short space of time after its launch; Castle Lite grew volumes to the point where it is now SAB’s biggest-selling premium brand, while Peroni volumes almost doubled in the last year.

The introduction of a global iconic brand like Grolsch to the SAB portfolio is expected to further accelerate premium market growth in South Africa.

Ronald van Amerongen, International Brand Director for Grolsch, said: “The launch of Grolsch in South Africa is an exciting first step in SABMiller’s global ambition for the brand. South Africa is the original home market of SABMiller and is a fast-growing consumer market for premium beer. This launch is the first of many, as we continue to develop Grolsch’s presence around the world.”

Supported by a major marketing investment, Grolsch will be positioned in South Africa as a top-end alternative in the premium beer sector, building on the brewing heritage and master craftsmanship established almost four centuries ago. This beer classic will be selectively launched in premium bars and restaurants across the country initially.

The only beer to bear the Dutch Royal Family Seal of Approval, Grolsch is the most prestigious beer in the Netherlands and in other key beer-loving markets around the world, says SAB, adding that the unique qualities of the brand – from its rich heritage, to its special double fermentation process and the iconic swing-top bottle – make it a discerning and enjoyable proposition for astute beer consumers.

Interesting Grolsch facts:

  • The Grolsch brewery in Holland was established in 1615
  • The iconic swing-top was introduced in 1897, and has only gone through four packaging alterations since its inception, with the last design update taking place in 2008.
  • In 2007 Grolsch introduced the new embossed 330ml Crown Cork bottle.
  • In 1995 Grolsch was awarded the Dutch Royal Seal of Approval – the only Dutch beer to receive this honour – and changed its company name to “Royal Grolsch N.V.”
  • Grolsch uses a unique double fermentation process for superior flavour and aroma and has a 5% ABV.

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