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SABMiller has record UK year as premium brands prevail in recession

14 May 2009

Barman with a Peroni bottle and glass of Peroni

Generation Y reluctant to let go of every-day luxuries.

SABMiller announces today that Miller Brands, its UK operation, has delivered its best annual results performance since it was established.

In the year to 31 March 2009, Miller Brands grew its value share of UK premium lager by 20%i, with all its brands significantly outperforming the wider lager market. Peroni Nastro Azzurro delivered 40% year on year volume growth - the equivalent of an additional 35 million bottles. Pilsner Urquell has grown volumes by 20% and, in Scotland, Miller Genuine Draft also outperformed the marketii. This contrasts with overall UK beer market volumes which declined 7% over the same period, with premium beer down by over 6%iii.

Nick Miller, MD of Miller Brands, says: "Many people in their 20s and 30s, or the so-called ‘Generation Y', are responding to their first ever recession and rather than battening down the hatches as their parents may have done, they are refusing to give up luxuries altogether, choosing instead to buy every-day luxuries such as their favourite beers, foods or toiletries, whilst proving more cautious about spending on ostentatious items like cars and designer handbags."

Recent research by Brunel Universityiv found that, even in a deep recession, Generation Y wants to keep spending on luxury, but that the idea of reward has changed, with ‘luxury' shifting from high cost items, such as watches and cars to ‘new luxury' - smaller, often daily purchases which act as a buffer against the all-pervading recession gloom.

Miller Brands' focus has been on differentiating its beer brands to avoid the commoditisation which has hit the overall beer category; a strategy which has resonated with the Generation Y expectations of every day luxury. Peroni Nastro Azzurro has partnered with iconic Italian fashion designer Antonio Berardi to create a bespoke fashion collection, consisting of high-end clothing and accessories, whilst premium Czech lager Pilsner Urquell recently became the first official beer of the Open Golf Championship, marking the coming together of two great uncompromised originals.

Miller continues: "These partnerships reinforce our brands' provenance and premium status - and they are clearly tapping into the Generation Y concept of new luxury."

i AC Nielsen- Off Trade MAT to April 09, On Trade MAT to Jan 09
ii MBUK internal sales figures
iii BBPA March 09 MAT
iv MS&L ‘The New Luxury Report', Professor Peter Lunt, School of Social Sciences and Law, Brunel University.


Notes to editors

About SABMiller

SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Grolsch, Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as market-leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie.  SABMiller is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

In the year ended 31 March 2008, the group reported US$3,639 million in adjusted pre-tax profit and revenue of US$21,410 million.  SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

About Miller Brands UK 

Miller Brands UK was launched in 2005 and is a subsidiary of SABMiller, one of the world's largest brewers. Miller Brands UK has assumed responsibility for the development of all SABMiller's international premium brands across the UK; these include Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Miller Genuine Draft. Through its consistent pricing and distribution discipline, supplemented by engaging marketing activities, Miller Brands UK is bringing value back into the beer category. Sales are currently growing in excess of 20% year on year in a declining market and this is increasingly recognized and referenced by retailers.

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Bianca Shevlin
Corporate Media Relations Manager
SABMiller plc
Tel: +44 20 7659 0172

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