S&N to build up US profile of Newcastle Brown Ale

SAN DIEGO: Brewer Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) has embarked on an intensive campaign to lure Americans to drink Newcastle Brown Ale and has hired San Diego-based Formula PR to co-ordinate its effort.

The account is valued at 'close to a half-a-million dollars,' according to Formula head Michael Olguin.

A main component of the programme involves street teams, dubbed 'Ale Blazers', offering samples of the product in 1,500 bars in about 35 markets, kicking off earlier this month in Atlanta.

'Sampling is such an important factor for a beer like this,' explained Scottish & Newcastle Importers marketing director Bill Wetmore. 'It's a darker-looking beer, but it does not have a heavy, bitter taste. When we get people to try a Newcastle, and they realise it isn't as heavy as it looks, the battle is won.'

He added that the street teams were an appealing idea because the brand has had great success in supermarkets, but is less popular in bars in the US, despite its success in such venues in the UK.

'Being an English beer from a pub heritage, we've always been on-premise oriented, and with this effort we're trying to really get the draft to be a revitalised part of our mix,' he said.

The beer has also been handed out to celebrities backstage at the recent Billboard Music Awards.

Olguin said that the event led to talks with the band Green Day with a view to providing them with Newcastle Brown in their green rooms during an upcoming US concert tour.

Wetmore said that Formula was chosen based on a referral from an ad agency.

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