Jamie Delaney, OJ Beer

Guest column: Jamie Delaney, Director, Liquor Zaar

When it comes to making a splash in a crowded marketplace, Liquor Zaar Director Jamie Delaney explains backing products that are forging their own paths might be the way to go

The beer category has changed an awful lot in recent years. The time when it was all about the big beers from big brands has evolved and now there’s an ever-growing demand for new and unique beers on the market. So now more than ever, there’s a clamour for products that offer a point of difference and a strong brand identity.

That’s what the team at O.J. Beer were aiming to deliver when we created a new taste experience inspired by one of the world’s strongest men, Belgian-born Odo Joost. We brewed an expansive range of premium-quality beers, each with their own unique and distinctive personality – appealing to bold, beer-drinking mavericks around the globe.

It’s what consumers currently want, especially in this category. Or at least that’s what our two-year research and development phase revealed. And it’s a trend the wholesale and convenience sector should be embracing too.

We dug deep into the marketing in an attempt to discover what it is consumers want in a beer and what the upcoming trends may be. We discovered some interesting insights from the fruit-beer market, so we decided to jump in head first.

The research showed us that the rate of sale per unit of fruit beer across impulse stores was up by 9% in 2019, while the rate of sale per litre was up by 27.4% across grocery multiples in the same year. The demand in the category is clear for all to see and we wanted to get involved.

For us, the next step was to create a range that covered a wide spectrum of beers. Our product list now includes our signature Pilsner, seven strong beers – ranging from 8.5% ABV to a whopping 20% – our top-quality wheat beer and the newest member of the family, our refreshing trio-of-fruit beer.

O.J. Fruit Beer has an ABV of 4%, has 140 calories per 330ml serving and is made from natural fruit, including wild berries, tropical peach and sweet apple. It’s something that breaks the traditional mould in the beer category by offering a taste sensation not yet on the market with the perfect balance between a fruit kick and a malt finish.

The drink should appeal to the beer drinker who wants to try something new and bold. And with the UK market set to see the effects of people tightening their belts in light of the recession, offering something that bucks the trend is likely to be a big draw.

With more than 20 years of experience in the beverage industry and five years as beer-brand owners, we’ve listened to the market’s needs and believe the wholesalers and retailers doing the same will find there’s a sizeable market in diversifying their range.

Our development won’t stop there and, as our research suggests, neither will consumer demand. So, we’ve got plans to broaden our range even further with some really cool flavours in the making.

While there’s still demand for old traditional bestsellers, the time is now to try something new. And we hope that means a bit more O.J.

beer BWS drinks guest column Jamie Delaney Liquor Zaar