|Manufacturer||Europe: Heineken International
United States & India: SAB Miller
Brazil: Brasil Kirin
|Alcohol by volume||5.2% (4% Europe)|
Foster's Lager is an internationally distributed Australian brand of 5.2% abv pale lager. It is a product of Foster's Group brewed under licence in several countries, including the U.S. and Russia. The European rights to the beer are owned by Heineken International, who brew and distribute a 4% ABV Foster's in most European countries, including the United Kingdom, Greece, France, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Finland, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and Ireland. In the United States and India, rights to the brand are owned by SABMiller. Respectively in Canada and Brazil, Foster's is brewed by Molson Canada and Brasil Kirin under licence from Foster's Brewing International.
Foster's brand is also used on several other beers, including Foster's Premium Ale, and Fosters ESB (Extra Special Bitter) which has been discontinued.
In recent years, Foster's has consistently sold in the region of 5 million hectolitres each year in the UK, making it the second best selling beer after Carling. While international marketing of the beer often focuses on its Australian connections, Foster's does not enjoy widespread popularity in Australia compared to other CUB beers such as Victoria Bitter or Carlton Draught.
Foster's Lager has been imported into the UK from Australia in its 13 Imperial fluid ounce (375 ml) distinctive blue, white and gold cans since the early 1970s. There was also a 26 ounce (750 ml) that is no longer produced by any of the Australian breweries.
Awareness of the brand was spread in Britain by the satirical magazine Private Eye which ran a cartoon series "The Adventures of Barry McKenzie", featuring a bumbling Foster's swilling Australian expatriate, from about 1964 onwards.[when?]
In Britain, the Courage brewing group was acquired in 1986 by Australian businessman John Elliott. Perceiving the increasing popularity of imported Foster's Lager, it was decided to commence local brewing of the product by Courage. The size of the locally produced Fosters cans was increased to the "standard" UK cans of 440 ml.
While popular in many countries, particularly where it is brewed locally, Foster's Lager does not enjoy widespread success in Australia. As a bottled beer produced by the Foster's Group (formerly the Carlton United Beverages group (CUB)) it has rarely been promoted in Australia since the early 2000s. Once a "premium" brand, Foster's Lager has been bypassed in favour of the Foster's Group's favoured premium brands of Carlton Crown Lager and Stella Artois.
In Australia until the end of the 1970s, Foster's Lager was a reasonably popular bottled and canned beer with a somewhat premium image. Then in the early 1980s there were major changes in the Australian brewing industry, including the merger of Castlemaine (Brisbane), Swan (Perth) and Toohey's (Sydney) into a national brewing group, as a result of acquisitions by Perth entrepreneur Alan Bond. In Queensland the high-volume Power's brewery was established by local entrepreneur Bernie Power.
Faced with inroads into its non-Victorian markets, Carlton and United Beverages (CUB) reviewed its product range and attempted to re-position some of its brands. So Foster's Draught was introduced, served on tap alongside established draught brands such as Castlemaine XXXX and Toohey's Draught. Despite some initial success, bolstered by heavy advertising, the brand did not prove popular and was eventually withdrawn from sale. Arguably, at the end of this failed exercise Foster's Lager was no longer viewed by consumers as a "premium" brand, and has not been promoted in Australia recently.
Power's Brewery, south of Brisbane, was taken over by CUB and is now used to brew Victoria Bitter and other Foster's Group brands in Queensland, (including Foster's Lager).
In April 2006, Scottish & Newcastle plc announced that it had agreed to acquire the Foster’s brand in Europe (including Turkey), the Russian Federation and other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States from Foster’s Group Limited for approximately £309 million. In August 2006, SABMiller announced that it had bought the rights to the Foster's brand in India for a reported $120m from private investors.
Scottish & Newcastle launched Foster's Twist, a beer with a hint of citrus that is marketed as a refreshing alternative to other heavier beers and Premium Packaged Spirits such as Smirnoff Ice. Foster's Twist is 4.5% abv. It has since been withdrawn from the market.
There is also Foster's Super Chilled, which is served at a colder temperature and is available in pubs and bars.
In the UK, customers are also able to purchase a keg of Foster's for private parties, collecting and returning the keg at a participating store or public house.
Also, there is Fosters Gold which has a slightly higher alcohol percentage of 4.8%.
Foster's Lager uses the slogan "The Amber Nectar" in Australia and the UK, and "Australian for Beer", elsewhere overseas. The overseas advertising of the product often focuses upon the Australian connotations of the beer, e.g. with reference to stereotypical Australian imagery such as kangaroos, exaggerated accents, and cork hats. This was true of a campaign in the 1980s fronted by the Australian comedian Paul Hogan.
The 2009 campaign for Foster's contains two 40-second adverts, "Backpacker" and "Deep Sea"; both end with the slogan, "Foster's – get some Australian in you."
The Foster's Lager brand was used as an advertising sponsorship deal with Norwich City F.C. from 1986 to 1989 (a period which included two top five finishes and a run to the FA Cup semi-finals). At its commencement, the sponsorship by Foster's was the most lucrative sponsorship ever given to an English football club.
The brand sponsored F1 events regularly from 1986 to 2006. During this period it was the title sponsor for the Australian GP (1986–1993 and 2002–2006), the British GP (1990–1993 and 2000–2006) and the San Marino GP (2003–2006). It also was the prime sponsor and trackside sponsor of many other Grand Prix during this time. The brand was also used in a sponsorship deal with the A1 Team Australia from 2005 to 2007. The brand is currently used in a major sponsorship deal with the ASP World Tour.
The Fosters UK division of the brand has focused on cultivating comedy-centric advertising and sponsorship arrangements and on 9 November 2011 they launched a trailer for their sponsored, online-only version of the hit 90s' television show The Fast Show. The six weekly episodes started on 10 November and feature the original cast (with the exception of Mark Williams) and many of the characters from the previous series.
Recent Foster's adverts have featured "Good call", in which numerous Britons phone up Australians Brad and Dan for general advice.
- Foster's Lager, Foster's Australian website. www.fosters.com.au. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- The Australian Fosters imported to the UK is 5% ABV.
- "Miller to brew Foster's Lager". St. Louis Business Journal. 26 June 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- Fosters Press Release, 29 November 2004. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- "Fosters (UK) from Berkshire (Heineken) – Ratebeer". ratebeer.com. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- Foster's in the US, www.fostersbeer.com
- Foster's in India, www.sabmiller.in
- "SABMiller acquires Foster's India". Press release. SABMiller plc. 4 August 2006.
- Alcoholic Drinks: Euromonitor from trade sources/national statistics 2011
- Stella Artois is brewed in Australia under licence from Belgian beer conglomerate InBev.
- "Cheers! Why every brewer loves a premium beer or two", www.smh.com.au, 18 August 2004.
- S&N turns on Foster's tap in Europe, Times Online
- Scottish & Newcastle completes the acquisition of the Foster’s brand, Scottish & Newcastle
- Alcoholic Drinks: Euromonitor from trade sources/national statistics, 2011
- Simon Bowers "Foster's may be 'the Australian for lager' but it is brewed in Britain", The Guardian, 21 June 2011
- "Foster’s returns to its advertising roots". www.talkingretail.com. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- Official UK Website, www.fosters.co.uk
- Official UK Fosters Funny Campaign Website, www.fostersfunny.co.uk
- Interview with Trevor O'Hoy, CEO of Foster's Group in 2006.
- Foster's History, www.australianbeers.com