Mark Hunter Molson Coors UK Chief Executive on the State of Beer Sales in Britain


Brewery boss in call for a long-term industry strategy
THE boss of a Burton brewing giant has given his take on what is wrong with beer in the UK and details how to put the industry back on the front foot.

Mark Hunter Molson Coors UK chief executive Mark Hunter spoke out just months after he described Britain’s love affair with beer as being in ‘serious jeopardy’.

He said: “Brewers operating in the UK are faced with a fundamental challenge — the total profit pool available to us has fallen 30 per cent over the last five years.

“We have to look to the long-term future of the beer market or else the consequences will be dire.

“Many of our competitors are selling at prices that are unsustainable, but we have set out to take a different approach.

“The key for us is that on a fully costed basis every brand we sell has to be profitable.

“Similarly, every customer has to be profitable for us and we have committed not to pursue low or no margin volume.

“That strategy is based on pretty simple maths. If our brands aren’t profitable, then we have no money to reinvest in them.

“Any business that is marginally costing its brands will at some point find it has a totally marginally costed business model.

“Recognising that beer prices today are in line with prices all the way back in the mid-1990s — despite significant excise increases — we set out to focus on value ahead of volume. The beer sector has to be well invested, innovative and profitable over the medium to long-term.

“The alternative of a commoditised category where the only driver that counts is low pricing is, in our view, unsustainable.

“If other brewers want to focus single-mindedly on price that’s up to them.

“In our view, some short-term share reduction is a price worth paying to ensure our category remains vital, valued and relevant."