The brewing giant made the comments last week against the background of the company’s introduction of a confluence of products within the past six months.
Red Stripe last week began running advertisements for a new “$100” beer product, Talawah, a week after the brewer launched Red Stripe Light Lime to complete a trio of flavoured light beers, which also includes apple and ginger-flavoured products.
The aggressive push to get new products to market is a key part of the company’s strategy to create vibrancy in the beer market through innovation shaped by consumers, says Red Stripe head of marketing Jomo Cato.
Cato said in a press release that innovation is a key pillar in the company’s strategy to building value and overall market share.
“We are moving from being a big company to a big, really fast company. New offerings and speed to market with our innovations is what we are about,” said Cato.
Over the Easter Weekend and throughout the Carnival season, Red Stripe has actively promoted the Red Stripe Light Flavors at major events such as Smirnoff Beach J’Ouvert, Daydreams and has been on the ground in communities sampling the flavors with its monster trucks that do the daily beer missions.
Cato said, “Consumer response to the Lime and the improved Apple has been tremendous and along with Ginger, which has tested great, we believe we have the right line up for summer.”
Towards the end of April, Red Stripe says it will launch a marketing campaign specifically around the Red Stripe Light Flavors.
Red Stripe’s thrust around innovation extends to its spirits portfolio. A US$2.5 million spirits plant was commissioned last April and the company has been producing Smirnoff Vodka for the local market. The company said it will also soon commence production and export of Smirnoff Vodka to Guyana and other Caricom countries.
Cato said having its own spirit line will make Red Stripe more efficient and competitive.
“This spirits plant will allow us to be very flexible in responding to consumer demands. Let’s say, for example, our consumers tell us they would like a mango-flavoured vodka, we have the flexibility to respond to that demand with pace,” explained Cato.
Towards the end of March, Red Stripe also launched Malta Light, a less sweet and low-calorie variant to its trademark non-alcoholic brand, Malta.
Red Stripe light was first launched in 2001 and was introduced to the US market in 2010. Beer innovation is big business in the US, which is one of the largest beer markets in the world.
In 2011, four of the top five selling beers in America were light beers and had combined sales of just over US$10 billion, as reported by bizjournals.com.