Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t serve up any more surprises … Carlton & United Breweries has announced it’s relaunching Foster’s beer in Australia and increasing production by 300% over summer.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led Aussies to embrace nostalgia and yearn for simpler times,” CUB Head of Classic brands Hayden Turner said.
“Foster’s is an iconic brand Australians know and trust so it is really no surprise drinkers have told us they want more.
“We’re confident Foster’s can continue to grow again and develop a strong following like Melbourne Bitter and Reschs have done recently.”
Production will be upped from 500,000 litres a year to just over 2.5 million litres. Once Australia’s best selling beer, it fell out of favour in the ’90s. In 2015, Brews News reported it could only be found on tap in 10 bars and pubs across the country.
During an IRI virtual 2020 Australian State of the Industry webinar last week, Daniel Bone, Insights Director at IRI, said: “Connecting consumers to previous experiences or historical symbols, conjuring up fond nostalgic memories of bygone era is a great marketing tool in the current environment.”
That’s proven to be the case for another CUB classic brand, with Reschs “Silver Bullet” cans being successfully revived earlier this year, after they were replaced with bottles in 2005.
Jack Stutfield, art director at Mr Simple, told The Guardian that there was a growing trend among young people towards vintage Australiana.
“Especially not being able to travel, people are really supporting more Australian stuff,” he said.
The birth of Foster’s beer
Foster’s was created by two Irish-American brothers, William M. and Ralph R. Foster, who arrived in Melbourne from New York in 1886. The brothers began brewing Foster’s Lager in November 1888 and it was made available to the public from February 1889.
It was the first to pioneer cold beer and it is still brewed at Melbourne’s Abbotsford Brewery.
Foster’s beer remains one of Australia’s most recognisable brands thanks to memorable advertising fronted by Paul Hogan in the 1980s. While international sales have remained strong in recent years – it’s currently the second biggest selling beer in the UK – local sales have declined.
Turner said with COVID-19 causing tough economic times, CUB is making it easier for people by launching a value-for-money Foster’s 30-can slab that will be competitive with affordable rivals. Thirty cans of Foster’s will retail at $53, compared to Lion’s XXXX Gold at $42.95 and Victoria Bitter at $59.99.