VOTE: Will VB's return to full strength restore its market share?

By By David Blight | 4 September 2012
VB "Destiny" campaign by Droga5.

Carlton United Brewers (CUB) has returned iconic Australian beer Victoria Bitter (VB) to its full 4.9% alcohol strength, in what appears to be a move to bolster a declining brand. Do you think the move will work?

The brewer had cut the strength of VB from 4.9% to 4.8% in 2007, then to 4.6% strength in 2009. The move saved the brewer millions in taxes.

But after years of public pressure the marketing team, led by chief marketing officer Andy Gibson, has moved back to the beer's original strength.

“The Vic Bitter drinkers have spoken and told us that we should not have tinkered with their beer”, Gibson said.

“So we have listened and during the course of October Victoria Bitter will be returning to its best, in fact we reckon it will be better than ever.”

A letter from CUB chief executive Ari Mervis will appear nationally in newspapers tomorrow, with the brewer admitting it had made the wrong move by changing the beer's formula.

A range of marketing initiatives will accompany the changes.

In recent years, VB's market share has been shrinking significantly, largely in the face of increased competition from players like XXXX Gold. Other boutique players have also increased in popularity.

Reports have suggested the brand's market share has dropped from over 20% of the beer market several years ago, to less than 14% today.

But will the changes to the VB brand help restore its market share?

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