Monday, 22 March 2010

Carling conundrum

In the Morning Advertiser this week we learn that Coors is apparently making only a penny a pint on their beer. I'm not clever enough to understand how this works. Microbreweries can make a living with a 10 barrel plant, while the country's leading lager brand can only barely break even on sales of nearly 7 million barrels a year. It does suggest very strongly that cooking lager and real ale are not remotely the same market these days.

And yet in CAMRA's latest BEER magazine we are told "Carling … pays the wages and has funded White Shield for years."

They can't both be right.


  1. It must be all that expensive 100% British barley they use...

    Or the fact they sell 20 cans for £8, or something.

    Maybe they should cut the advertising spend...

    Doing the (rough) sums, that still equals almost £17 million. And I'm guessing that figure is their profit at then end of everything?

  2. Marketing, financial and PR departments, sponsoring the Carling Cup, paying big money to some CEO and other pretty much useless executives all that doesn't come cheap, you know...

  3. My old local used to make about 1p a pint on Carling, so I assume all of the rest of the £3.19 per pint went elsewhere...obviously not to the manufacturers though?!?!

  4. Certainly it's not the same market. Cooking lager (like the term) is basically a fungible product; nobody really cares whether they are drinking Coors, Carling, Foster's, XXXX, Budweiser or whatever. If one were to retail at a higher price then people would simply switch to another. Real ales are individually distinctive and chosen on taste; real-ale drinkers are happier to pay a higher price from a product they like.

  5. Barry, I'd like to agree, but in my experience drinkers are often extremely loyal to their chosen brand of cooking lager.