Students will be saying cheers for the beers

Scottish student union bars will be toasting a new deal with a brewery chain.

Brewer Molson Coors is this week celebrating a milestone for its Scottish business, with the announcement of a new four year solus beer and cider supply deal with the student union purchasing consortium, Northern Services.

In an unprecedented decision by the Northern Services board, Molson Coors has been appointed unanimously to supply bars at university unions in Dundee, St Andrews, Glasgow (Glasgow University Union and Queen Margaret Union) and Queen’s (Belfast).

The news follows the success of an initial two year contract which resulted in beer volumes rising across the group, with bar managers crediting the strength of the award-winning Molson Coors portfolio – which includes Coors Light, Carling, Pravha, Blue Moon, Staropramen and Rekorderlig Cider – in helping them buck the industry-wide trend of declining beer sales.

Anne Marie Bennett, executive director of Northern Services, welcomed the deal and said: ‘In the two years since we switched to Molson Coors, our bars are thriving and our beer volumes are up and outperforming the market. That’s why we collectively took the unusual decision to extend our contract with Molson Coors in this way. It’s great business for us, and they have proven themselves to be a perfect fit, with a product range that works for the changing student market.

‘The days of unions relying on a price fighting lager are over. Modern student bars need to offer quality, choice and plenty of exciting new brands, and with a range that includes Coors Light, Blue Moon, Chieftain IPA, Pravha and Rekorderlig, we get that in one from Molson Coors.

‘It means we have been able to attract new drinkers and get students engaged with beer and cider again, which has been very exciting. Another huge advantage of having such a great portfolio is the ability to customise the product range in different locations to accommodate the slight regional variations in the tastes of students at each union.

‘The exceptional level of support offered by Molson Coors’ Scottish team has also been a big factor in our decision. As well as providing the best technical support in the industry, they are always pushing themselves to find new ways to support the brands and create great events and experiences for our students to enjoy.’

Molson Coors national sales manager Scott McLardy added: ‘We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our partnership with Northern Services for a further four years. It’s a strong endorsement of the quality and breadth of our portfolio, and of the commitment of our people to deliver brilliant results for customers.

‘Having worked closely with the Northern Services team for the past two years, we have developed a deep understanding of the student market and the shift that is currently taking place towards more discerning drinking habits, where quality and choice are now as important as price.

‘We have stayed one step ahead of this trend, tapping into the variances between drinkers at each union around the country and building a range and brand experiences to suit. It has been extremely rewarding to see the resulting increase in sales, and most importantly, to receive such resoundingly positive feedback from such a prestigious customer. We are very much looking forward to working with them in the years ahead.’

The extended deal with Northern Services caps a successful first half of the year for the Molson Coors Scottish team in 2018. The business also secured a highly-prized pouring deal at Easter Road, home of Hibernian FC; plus they will be taking over the taps at some of the leading venues at Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe this August, including Underbelly, the Pleasance and the Gilded Balloon.