Many of us have experienced a balmy Caribbean day, relaxing in the shade of a palm tree and sipping a frosty Red Stripe beer.
The Jamaican brewer is hoping to extend that experience to a lot more North Americans through its plan to begin shipping canned beer to the U.S. and Canada on May 1. The 12-ounce cans will be available as a four-pack offering at a suggested retail price of $6.99. Red Stripe already is available in 12- and 24-ounce bottles.
Red Stripe is hoping to better the 27% growth in volumes exported to the U.S. during the last six months of 2008 and improve its market share of U.S.-imported beer.
It will use the Canadian company Moosehead Brewery to brew and package the cans through licensing agreements similar to those it already has in the United Kingdom and Antigua. Moosehead will ship the beer to Diageo USA, a red Stripe affiliate.
Grace Silvera, Red Stripe's international marketing director, said in a statement, "This new can format will better enable Red Stripe to appeal to its core consumer base as the popularity of cans has significantly increased as well as captured new consumers and drinking occasions."
According to the brewer, part of the rationale for offering its flagship brand in a 12-ounce can to the U.S. market is the faster pace of growth of imported canned beer there.
"Currently, the small import-beer sector is growing at 4.6% with import cans growing at 13%," Silvera said. "Despite the state of the U.S. economy, Red Stripe beer continues to show a fair degree of resilience registering a 30% increase in volume sales" in February.
For the six months ending December 31, 2008, Red Stripe reported gross profit after marketing costs of $72 million for its export segment, up from a loss of $203 million.
Revenue from exports represented 25% of the company's overall sales up to the end of 2008, up from 20% in 2007. Domestic sale volume in Jamaica has been declining, which the company attributes to "the economic climate and its adverse effect on consumer's disposable income."
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