Australian brewer Victoria Bitter dips into tea category to target early-morning sports viewers, says GlobalData

Iconic Australian beer brand Victoria Bitter recently launched a beer-inspired limited-edition ‘VB Tea’ for Australian cricket fans to consume while watching The Ashes cricket series. Given that Australian sports lovers are often required to stay up late or wake up early in the morning to watch the cricket series when televised from the UK, the product gives them a viable alternative to beer that still reminds them of the classic brew, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

VB Tea is non-alcoholic and made with Victoria Bitter’s signature blend of hops. Even though beer and tea ostensibly have little in common, in reality each category can stand to gain significantly by leveraging attributes from the other.

Katrina Diamonon, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The campaign presents some promising routes to innovation for the tea category in general. The hot drinks category is not renowned for exceptionally exciting or dynamic innovation. However, there is evidence that consumers still seek novelty when shopping for these products.

According to GlobalData’s 2018 Q4 survey, almost one-fifth (19%) of global consumers ‘often’ experiments with new or different varieties of hot drinks while an additional 25% of consumers ‘sometimes’ try new varieties when they want to try something new. Tea products that are inspired by alcoholic drinks have the ability to inject excitement and indulgence into hot drink consumption.

Notably, the reverse also applies with regards to opportunities in alcoholic drink innovation. As alcohol-free alternatives to beer, wine and spirits increasingly appeal to health-conscious consumers, there is a growing demand for options beyond the standard fizzy drinks and juice.

Indeed, GlobalData’s 2018 Q3 survey found that 45% of global consumers are interested in ‘sophisticated’ or ‘adult-style’ soft drinks as alternatives to alcoholic drinks.

Diamonon concludes: “Products that leverage the authenticity and often complexity of tea can elevate a non-alcoholic drink to something more refined.”

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