Skol larger is an award winning light refreshing beer with excellent flavor that is brewed in multiple locations worldwide. With such an obviously Swedish name, it is most surprising that its largest market is currently in Brazil and has only a minimal connection to anything Scandinavian.
In 1958 Skol Larger was developed by Ind Coope breweries in Alloa, Central Scotland (Hornsey, 2003) with equipment imported from Sweden. http://https://www.google.com/maps/place/Alloa,+UKfirstname.lastname@example.org,-6.0356927,7z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x4887d56265e54a39:0xb5a38c91af304a3f!8m2!3d56.114073!4d-3.791896
The beer marketed in the region at that time was Graham’s Golden Larger produced by the Allsopp family which was introduced in 1927 (Zythophile, 2012). In 1958 the company launched Graham’s Continental following the trend of the time period of invoking a ‘Continental Air’ to lagers. The name was then changed to Graham’s Skol in 1959 to reflect the Scandinavian heritage of the beer’s origin and brewing equipment.
This was later shortened to just ‘Skol’ (Wikipedia, 2019).
In 1960, England had applied to join the European Economic Community but was vetoed by Charles DeGaulle of France. The potential for Ind Coope to access the much larger European market was not realized and its Commercial Director of the time – Robert Eades developed the innovative idea of producing an International Beer (Zythophile, 2012). This would be the opposite of the trend of the time where beer was brewed in a central location and then exported. The idea was for this product to be produced in multiple locations while maintaining a common recipe and similar characteristics.
In 1961, Ind Coope merged with Tetley to form Allied Breweries. In 1964 an alliance was formed by four breweries and an agreement was signed in Bermuda. The aim of this alliance was to brew, license and market a unified product worldwide which shared the same characteristics but could avoid trade licenses and tariffs because of the location it was brewed in. Skol International was formed in 1964 by Allied Breweries in the UK, Labatt of Canada, Unibra of Belgium and Pripps- Bryggerierna of Sweden and production commenced in Spain that same summer under an agreement with a Spanish brewery Cervezas de Santander. Later that year, another partner was added to the agreement – Sociedade Central de Cervejas of Portugal. This opened the market to South America, Angola and Mozambique.
In 1992, Allied Breweries merged with Carlsberg to and production was moved to a facility in Leeds. The Leeds brewery later closed in 2011. Today Skol is one of 684 product marketed under the Carlsberg brand which maintains Production Rights worldwide except in Africa and South America. (Carlsberg Group, 2018).
The inspiration of the worldwide brew of Skol International in 1964 has proven to be very successful. Skol Beer is the 5th highest selling beer – selling 9 million bottles of beer worldwide (Zythophile, 2012) mainly in part to it being one of the most popular beers in Brazil – second only to Brahma Beer. It is just a popular in the Congo and Malaysia and the Far East.
One of the latest additions to its multiple breweries worldwide is Carib Brewery in St. Kitts, Nevis. With its short history of just over 10 years as a representative partner in the Skol family, Carib brewery joins the growing family of Skol International – an alliance of truly International origins.
Brewing Science and Industrialization
Skol is a fairly ‘young’ beer. For the remainder of this exercise we will focus on Skolt Brazil, the A-B In Bev owned portion of the brand since is recognized as a Brazilian Beer. Ownership and licenses in Britain and Asia go to Carlsberg and in Africa it is owned by UniBra. This oddity in itself makes Skol unique among beers.
The basic agreement behind the founding Skol international focused on the science of brewing with the aim of providing a universal taste from many locations.
According to Zythophile.co.uk it is alleged “Skol International attempted to maintain strict quality control over each brewer, with the Schwarz Laboratories in New York, owned jointly by Labatts, Allied and Pripp, testing samples of Skol from new members of the consortium “exhaustively” until satisfied. One firm in 1967 was supposed to have been waiting 18 months for the green light, with 28 trial brews tested and rejected. Eades admitted to only one serious failed launch: in New Zealand in 1964, where “a lack of market research” meant that the local Skol “did not coincide with local taste”.
Skol Brazil began it brewing operations in a facility that at the time was state of the art which allowed it to fulfill its goals of providing the consistent taste recognized as Skol.
The development of refined testing practices allowed for this extensive testing of the many products to maintain the unified taste.
Skol is a pale light drinking beer, a lager style brew – meaning it is fermented with bottom fermenting yeast at cooler temperatures for 7 to 10 days resulting in a lighter more thirst quenching beverage. Lagers are characterized and being sweet and crisp with higher carbonation levels. This characteristic was probably one of the major reasons it became so popular in Brazil – its thirst quenching ability in the hot region – allowing it to outsell the previously acknowledged favorite ale in Brazil. Skol is also popular in other regions which are also warm – Africa and Asia.
Although lagers are not known for having high alcohol contents, Skol Brazil currently brews beverages with current alcohol content of about 7.9%.
The WW1 – WW2 Era
Skol International was not formed until 1961 so it was not immediately affected by any of the World Wars. This beer was developed more as a consequence to the world wars when beer producers
- Recognized a market for beers that the public wanted. Former soldiers had developed a liking for beers not familiar to their home regions and beer suppliers were now able to provide the product they craved.
- Skol International is in itself one form of Innovation developed after the wars. The merger formed by these parties would not have been likely prior to WW1 and WW2.
- The consortium that was formed by Allied Breweries most likely resulted in the brand Skol being alive today. Without the agreement it is possible that the brand would have died from lack of resources and equipment as many beers did after the WW2.
Consolidation and Globalization
As with most other commercially produced beer – Skol has gone through a myriad amount of mergers and its unique position of multiple brand ownership is the result.
A mentioned previously Skol has multiple owners depending on the region it is brewed in. Skol Brazil followed the path below:
Marketing and Branding
Skol’s target market is the average man on the street who is just seeking a thirst quencher. It is more aimed at the blue collar worker because of its price point. More sophisticated beer drinkers have expressed significant dislike of the taste of Skol.
The historical aspect of the brand was to make a unified taste available worldwide. Skol produced by today by A-B In Bev is believed to maintain the same flavor which makes it popular with the man on the street at very affordable prices.
Skol is positioned as a low cost beer that is familiar to the everyday masses. It is a familiar beer with no ‘airs’ about itself.
Competitors of Skol vary based on the marketing region. In Brazil and the rest of the South American and Caribbean market this can include any of the locally brewed lagers e.g. Red Stripe in Jamaica or Banks in Barbados.
Skol is once again unique since its strength is also its weakness – the unified taste in all regions. This unified taste makes it familiar wherever you are located. This also means that persons travelling between regions who dislike the taste of Skol would not be inclined to purchase this been.
Recent additions of new flavors to the product line in Brazil should assist with Skol in rebranding itself with a newer market niche. These new product additions should go a long way in maintaining the brand presence of Skol for some time in the future.
Recent additions to the Skol lineup of products have revamped its image to a more modern look. Skol has attempted to focus on the sociology of the human being.
The new Skol products have been branded
- Skol Senses
- Skol Secret
- Skol Spirit
- Skol Love
- Skol Rainbow
These are packed with bright colors indicative of its market with significant use of highlighting elements.
There is also a trend to be more inclusive as is prevalent worldwide these days (namely Skol Rainbow).
Skol today has entwined itself with the culture of Brazil – the culture of Carnival which is a colorful and fun spectacle enjoyed by all areas of the Brazilian society.
The higher alcohol content is also a factor that could increase its popularity with younger drinkers since it requires less volume to ingest the increased alcohol.
Skol maintains the position of most beer company today to drink responsibly. In Brazilian culture where promiscuity is alleged to be prevalent, this means responsible social interactions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPm_UOnEYJQ (adult content implied).
These recent additions to the Skol line- while providing a modern look and aimed at a younger ‘more hip’ market has still left very little impression with the discerning beer drinkers. The product still receives a poor review in the market. Initial reviews of the product have rated it 1.9 out of 5 by “Untappd” online market review, however, as the new Skol Beats becomes available to more of the public ratings have increased to 2.2 out of 5. (Untappd, 2019)
You are encouraged to try Skol Beats and join Untappd online to post your reviews.
Carlsberg Group. (2018, May). Retrieved 09 28, 2019, from https://www.carlsberggroup.com/products/skol/skol/
Cockrall-King. (2012). Food and the City. Amherst: Prometheus Books.
Hornsey, I. S. (2003). A History of Beer and Brewing. Royal Society of Chemistry.
Wikipedia. (2019, 02 25). Retrieved 09 28, 2019
Zythophile. (2012, 05 11). Retrieved 09 28, 2019, from http://zythophile.co.uk/2012/05/11/how-brazils-favourite-beer-arrived-from-scotland/