Lidl has started a new price war. It is stocking more than 60 types of bottled branded beers and ciders alongside its cheap lagers. It is selling everything from ciders and IPAs to bitter and craft beer, and in many cases it is doing so at far lower prices than the big four supermarkets.
The bargains include Old Speckled Hen at £1.17, compared to £2 at Sainsbury's, £1.50 in Asda and £1.25 in Tesco. Bishop's Finger, meanwhile costs £1.25 - matching the Tesco and Sainsbury's price, but beating Asda - where it costs £1.50. The whole range is priced at under £1.50 a bottle.
In some cases this constitutes an amazing bargain, although the prices vary so much across the supermarkets that it's worth narrowing down the brand you intend to buy and then using my supermarket.co.uk to compare the Lidl price with those at the other supermarkets.
Ben Hulme of Lidl said in a statement: "If you're a dedicated ale drinker who hasn't shopped with us before, we hope you might now." Blur bassist and organic farmer and brewer, Alex James, is promoting the new range. He added: "The beer category is so vast and the demand for craft ales has increased by a huge amount in the past few years. Nowadays there are so many beer aficionados and great local breweries around the UK, so it is tremendous to see a supermarket like Lidl supporting them."
It's not the first time Lidl has stocked some of these ales on an irregular basis, but it hopes that by making a splash and launching a bigger range, it will encourage ale drinkers to visit their local store to see what the fuss is about, and hopefully pick up some shopping while they're at it.
Will it work?
It's an approach that has served Lidl well in the past. Last year it launched a range of 48 upmarket French wines at low prices, which included Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Chateau Latour. It was an enormous success and saw sales increase by almost 40%.
Analysis from the Wilson Drinks Report earlier this year found that 13% of people now do most of their drinks shopping at Aldi or Lidl, with another 39% of people saying they shop there some of the time. Red wine drinkers are most likely to have shopped for food or alcohol at one of the discounters - 39% - while lager drinkers are the least likely. Lidl will be hoping that this latest venture will see them tap into the ale drinkers market too.
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