Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Foster's woos spurned Cascade drinkers

Foster's cans 330ml stubbies

February 24, 2009 - 2:34PM

Brewing giant Foster's is sheepishly reversing a marketing brain snap in Australia that tried charging the same price for less beer in a smaller "European-style'' stubbie.

Foster's infuriated drinkers in March last year by downsizing four of its 375ml Cascade range of stubbies by 45ml to a "sleeker'' 330ml bottle without changing the retail price.

Outraged drinkers quickly labelled it a rip-off, turning their backs on the brand as a groundswell of protest erupted, spawning several website campaigns against the brewer.

Foster's spokeswoman Felicity Watson said today sales of the nationally distributed flagship Cascade Premium Lager nosedived by 33% after the Euro folly.

Emotions ran high, she said.

"At the time that the millilitres dropped the wholesale price remained the same, and so did the recommended retail price,'' Ms Watson said.

Foster's never intended to rip off its customers or make them unhappy by giving them less beer for the same money, she said.

"We made some changes to Cascade and we acknowledge we made the wrong changes and we acknowledge that we got it wrong and now we are bringing back the 375ml,'' she said.

"It was the wrong thing to do and we totally admit that and we are copping it on the chin.''

Cascade Blonde and Cascade Stout and Pale Ale are also all due to be resized to 375ml later this year.
Fosters first announced its Cascade size reversal, of the predominantly Tasmanian-sold Pale Ale, in October last year.

Its decision to resize its nationally-sold premium lager was announced on Tuesday.

Some retailers have reported a 50% drop in sales of the beer.

Ms Watson said Foster's remained hopeful spurned drinkers would return to the brand after the brewer promised to change its ways.

"We'd love them them back and we hope with the changes we've made that they will come back,'' she said.


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