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SABMiller launches Dreher Premium Lager in South Africa

2 September 2008

Dreher bottle and glass

Ref. no: 132008

Hot on the heels of the successful introduction of Grolsch into the South African market, SABMiller today said it will be launching a new premium brand, Dreher Premium Lager. 

As part of its European expansion, SABMiller purchased the rights to the Dreher brand in 1993. Now, SAB Ltd will brew Dreher Premium Lager under licence in South Africa as an extension of the Dreher range of beers.

“This is testimony to our commitment to continue providing the right brand portfolio for our customers and great brand choices for consumers,” says SAB Ltd Managing Director Tony van Kralingen. “The introduction of Dreher is part of our long-term strategy to provide consumers with diverse and interesting alternatives that will appeal to the premium beer target market. Dreher offers an exceptional beer-drinking experience that will afford consumers of premium brands a competitive and accessible alternative from which to choose.

“The beer market has historically been resilient in tough economic times and it is likely to perform similarly in the current economic climate,” Van Kralingen adds. “We see sustainable opportunities in the premium market, even though the sector’s growth rate has softened more recently.”

Ian Penhale, SAB’s Marketing Director, says the brewer’s brand introductions are dependent upon consumer-based insights and successful assessment of various potential opportunities: “In the case of Dreher, we determined that there was an opportunity to provide a mid-priced brand for discerning consumers who appreciate the craftsmanship inherent in premium-quality brews. Dreher is a smooth, finely-flavoured lager with a typically European full-malt recipe and distinctive brewing style. The lager-style beer is triple-hopped, with three different types of hops added at different stages of the brewing process, resulting in a distinctive aroma, flavour, and fine bittering.”

Dreher Premium Lager is an easy-drinking full-malt lager with a 5% ABV and will be available in 350ml non-returnable bottles through on- and off-trade premises from 1 October 2008. The brand will be heavily supported through an extensive TV, radio and outdoor campaign, as well as in-store promotions and experiential events.

This brings the total number of premium brands in the SAB stable to seven, and its total brand portfolio to 16.  SAB today has over 60% more brands in its portfolio than it did in 2000.


Notes to editors

Innovations and product development

  • Increased investments in marketing, innovation and new product development have seen SAB delivering on a number of new product launches and pack renovations in the last year, of which Dreher Premium Lager is the latest.
  • South Africa was the first country outside Europe to bring the prestigious Dutch beer, Grolsch Premier Lager, to market following the acquisition of Royal Grolsch by SABMiller. Grolsch has been introduced to South Africa in its iconic 450ml swing-top bottle and the 330ml flat-sided crown top. Both formats are being imported from the Grolsch brewery in Holland. 
  • Hansa Marzen Gold was launched in May 2007, and now constitutes some 23% of total premium sales in the prior fiscal year. The Peroni Nastro Azzurro pack offering was also extended in the year to include draught and a 660ml bulk pack.
  • Innovation in the Flavoured Alcoholic Beverage (FAB) category saw two new brands being launched in the last quarter of the financial year: Sarita Ruby Dry, a red dry apple-flavoured beverage; and the citrus-flavoured Skelter’s Straight. Brutal Fruit this year launched a new variant, Peach, after Lemon in the previous year.
  • In the mainstream beer category Hansa Pilsener, Carling Black Label and Castle Lager received pack design upgrades in the past year, to coincide with the introduction of the new 750ml returnable bottle.  SAB also implemented its 750ml quart bottle replacement programme (Calabash), in which the entire quart bottle pool (330-million bottles) is being replaced with a new, more aesthetic and durable Calabash bottle (430-million new bottles).

Dreher Premium Lager fact sheet

  • Dreher is a full-malt, triple-hopped premium lager:
    It is rich in flavour
    It has a distinct aroma
    It has a slightly darker colour
    It provides a full-drinking (flavourful) experience 
    But it is still easy-drinking
  • The triple-hopping process provides a full-flavoured drinking experience – this is the unique intrinsic of the beer.
  • The hops are added to the brew at three different stages during the brewing process. Three different hop varieties are used:
    Hersbrucker for aroma
    Halletauer Magnum for flavour
    Southern Promise for finish (the fine bittering in every sip)
  • Dreher appeals to a discerning beer drinker who appreciates a full-flavoured, aromatic, rich lager with European origin and authentic brewing style.
  • The original Dreher Brewery was founded in 1854 (then named Barber & Kluseman), and was acquired and renamed by the Dreher Family in 1862.
  • Anton Dreher (who was born in 1810 in Vienna, Austria) is widely known as the father of modern lager, and his innovative spirit and entrepreneurial drive are the inspiration for Dreher brands.
  • The SABMiller group purchased Dreher Sörgyárak Ltd in 1993.
  • SAB Ltd will brew Dreher Premium Lager initially at the Alrode Brewery in Gauteng.
  • Dreher Premium Lager will be available in a 350ml non-returnable bottle.
  • Dreher Premium Lager’s ABV is 5.0% ALC/VOL.

About SABMiller plc
SABMiller plc is one of the world’s largest brewers with brewing interests or distribution agreements in over 60 countries across six continents. The group’s brands include premium international beers such as Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as an exceptional range of market leading local brands.  Outside the USA, SABMiller plc is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.
In the year ended 31 March 2007, the group reported US$3,154 million adjusted pre-tax profit and revenue of US$18,620 million.   SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

This announcement is available on the company website:

About SAB
SABMiller plc has its origins in South Africa where the original brewing operations of the group was founded in 1895, known as “Castle Brewing”. Castle Lager was the first brand launched from a newly-commissioned lager brewery with a yearly capacity of 50,000 barrels. It also participated in industry consolidation, including acquiring the Ohlsson's and Chandlers Union Breweries in 1956, after which the company became known as “The South African Breweries” and the beer interests of the Rembrandt group during 1979. In addition, it obtained the franchise for bottling and distributing Coca-Cola products in 1976, separately managed by the Amalgamated Beverages Industries (“ABI”). The South African lager and sparkling beverage businesses are now integrated following the 2004 purchase of the balance of ABI shares that SAB did not already own, and together are known as the South Africa Beverages division of SABMiller, or locally, as the South African Breweries Limited (“SAB”).

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

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