Courage unveils Extra Smooth keg bitter

By David Benady

Courage is launching its first new product for five years, a replacement for John Smith's keg draught bitter called John Smith's Extra Smooth.

The company will put the bulk of the brand's £10m advertising budget behind the launch, with a new television campaign next May featuring comedian Jack Dee.

Creative work will done by BMP DDB Needham's David Webster, who originated the Jack Dee "No Nonsense Bitter" campaign.

Brewers are trying to add value to beleaguered standard keg bitters by giving them the flavour of the increasingly popular cask conditioned ales, which take more than two-thirds of the draught bitter market. Adding nitrogen to keg bitters gives the beer a "creamy" taste, brewers claim.

John Smith's is a latecomer to this "super keg" sector, behind Tetley, Boddingtons and Caffrey's. But Jerry Goldberg, marketing controller for bitters and stouts at Courage, says John Smith's is the first to make a feature of it in its advertising. "We aim to dominate the sector by defining its language," he adds.

Courage will introduce the new draught beer to 10,000 pubs and venues around the country, and phase out its standard John Smith's keg bitter. Branding for Extra Smooth will be featured in pubs.

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