Great Northern has become Australia’s first billion dollar alcohol brand. IRI Market Edge data shows sales of the CUB-owned beer are up nearly $150million in the past year, exceeding $1 billion for the first time (MAT to 6/09/2010).
“It’s incredibly exciting for the Australian liquor industry for a locally born brand to break the billion dollar mark,” said IRI Liquor Consultant, Lachlan Cameron.
“It’s a testament to the team at CUB for identifying a clear gap in the market and then executing on building a brand that resonates strongly with so many Australians.
“At the heart of Great Northern’s success has been a distinctive brand position as well as its ability to tap into a number of important macro trends and consumer needs including: health and wellness, refreshment and value for money”
The milestone coincides with the contemporary beer’s 10th anniversary. The brand was launched in 2010, reviving the classic marlin logo of the discontinued Cairns Draught, which was produced by CUB’s first brewery operating in Queensland.
Great Northern Original Lager was initially only available in Queensland and went on sale nationally in 2017, following its unprecedented growth in the market.
Great Northern Brewing Co’s Ian Giles said: “Great Northern became so popular, interstate hoteliers were crossing the border to buy the beer in Queensland to take back to their pubs over the border.”
Now, 10 years on, it demand for the Queensland drop is up 16.5% across Australia compared to last year.
Asahi revealed last year that the success of Great Northern was one of the big reasons it decided to buy CUB.
Executive chairman of Asahi Beverages Peter Margin told the Australian Financial Review he was impressed by CUB’s product innovation and marketing sizzle in elevating Great Northern to one of the biggest-selling beers in the country.
The booming sales of Great Northern, combined with regaining distribution of Corona from Lion, lifted CUB’s market share to 48.8%.
He said it gave Asahi confidence by showing there was life in the beer category.
“I’m not sure the rest of the market has woken up to what has happened,” Margin said.
CUB releases Great Northern Zero
CUB recently launched an alcohol-free version of Great Northern, Great Northern Zero, to coincides with the 10th anniversary of the debut of the beer.
Antonia Ciorciari, CUB’s head of contemporary brands, said: “Men and women are both seeking non-alcoholic beer with the strongest demand coming from those aged 25-45.
“The non-alcoholic beer category has doubled in Australia in the past year and sales through bottle shops and other off premise sites have increased 30-fold when compared with the same period in 2017/18.”