“The FAB category, which traditionally includes apple ales, ciders, cider-like brands and spirit coolers, has been marked by extremely strong growth in the past three years. Being an economically sensitive category, growth has tapered off somewhat but is still showing strong potential,” says Ian Penhale, SAB's marketing director.
“Worldwide, more consumers are adding apple ales to their list of favourite beverages. The FAB sector is relatively new within the overall South African beer market, and as with any growing market it takes some time for consumer profiles to develop. We are seeing different segments emerging within the category as varied consumer preferences are becoming more apparent.”
The FAB category currently has a relatively limited number of brand offers for South African consumers. SAB believes this presents the company with an opportunity to provide greater choice with interesting, attractive and affordable alternatives.
Blakes & Doyle rounds out the brewer's apple ale portfolio which currently consists of Redd's Original, Redd's Dry, Sarita Select and Sarita Ruby Dry. Other SAB brands in the FAB category include Brutal Fruit and Skelter's Straight.
Penhale explains that there is a strong female appeal for sweeter-tasting apple ales like Redd's Original, with Sarita at the premium end being very popular. Other brands with a more masculine or gender-neutral appeal tend to be drier.
“As the market grows, more focused segments are appearing, which allows us to cater for more specific taste preferences. We have listened to what our consumers want - a deliciously dry apple ale which appeals to both male and female consumers at the premium end of this market. We believe we've achieved a simply perfect brand for this category through Blakes & Doyle,” Penhale concludes.
Blakes & Doyle's pay-off line, “simply perfect”, reflects our focus on the three things that really matter in brewing a quality, premium apple ale: using the finest quality ingredients, controlling temperatures exactly, and maturing it to perfection.
The drier taste profile appeals particularly to men, but women who enjoy drinking apple ales or cider-like brands will also enjoy Blakes & Doyle. The target market is young (18-35), urban, upwardly mobile and ambitious, with money to spend.
Blakes & Doyle has a 5.5% ABV and will be available in 340ml non-returnable bottles, six-packs and cases.