It’s been a busy few months for Per Svendsen, vice president for independent free trade at Carlsberg UK. House of Beers, Carlsberg's new premium brand division, came into being earlier this year. October saw the arrival of a new app to help customers build 'impactful' drinks lists, while its new dispense system, DraughtMaster, landed in November.
Then just this week the refresh of Carlsberg Export kicked off the start of Carlsberg's £15m campaign to revitalise its performance in the UK.
We caught up with Svendsen just after the news ofthe new campaign had been announced, and asked him about the scene as he saw it in the UK. 'Restaurants are increasingly important [to Carlsberg], because the on-trade is changing,' he said, mentioning in particular the differences being seen in casual dining and elsewhere.
To address these opportunities, he envisages a three-pronged plan of attack. First, an improved portfolio that offers a 'point of difference', having been bolstered by the addition of 'interesting' brands like Brooklyn Brewery, which joins the fold from January 2017.
Second, the continued rollout of DraughtMaster, Carlsberg's compact new dispense method. Developed at its Copenhagen labs, this uses 20-litre PET kegs plus a specially pressurised chamber, extending the bar-life of beer from around a week up to a month. 'Ninety per cent of Carlsberg's Italian market has moved over to this system,' he said.
Svendsen's third weapon is enhanced staff capabilities. A new training scheme, trialled successfully in Norway, will be offered to all Carlsberg UK staff, Svendsen said. This will equip them with, for example, food and beer pairing skills. 'We need to be able to talk about beer like our staff do about wine with Crown Cellars,' he said.
Check out the Jan/Feb issue of Imbibe for more on DraughtMaster