Promoting refreshing drinks can pay dividends this summer
THE way in which operators describe summer serves could hold the key to unlocking cocktail sales in the coming weeks.
Jeremy Hill, chairman of drinks marketing firm Hi-Spirits, whose brands include Buffalo Trace bourbon, Effen vodka and Antica sambuca, reckons the descriptions used in cocktail lists, drinks menus or chalkboards can have a major influence on what consumers choose to order at the bar.
Promoting drinks as refreshing is key, he said. “Operator should highlight drinks which feature appealing flavours such as fruit and mint, and use descriptors on menus and chalkboards such as ‘poured over crushed ice’ and ’served from the fridge’,” said Hill. “Posters showing cocktail pitchers full of ice have a strong and instant appeal.”
Refreshment seems to top the agenda of the summer cocktails and long drinks Hi-Spirits is promoting. As well as the ‘Antica Longshots’, long drinks made with the Antica Sambuca range, Hi-Spirits also recommends the Buffalo Julep: a Mint Julep made with Buffalo Trace bourbon served straight from the fridge; and a number of different serves for cinnamon and whisky liqueur Fireball, including mixed with apple juice and ginger ale.
Hill said it’s important to offer a variety of summer serves. “We’ve worked with our customers to develop serves and support relevant to the summer market, which means cocktails and long drinks featuring summer flavours and served with plenty of ice,” he added. “Consumers have a wider drinking repertoire than ever, so will be looking for a range of drinks across the summer. Visibility is key, as most consumers make their buying decision in the first few seconds of reaching the bar or sitting at their table. Promoting drinks which offer the best margin, such as cocktails and long spirits drinks, will boost operators’ sales.”
It’s a view shared by Tom Coates at distributor Love Drinks, whose portfolio includes the Gosling’s and Ron Barcelo rum brands and Hayman’s gin. “A Caipirinha is always a great one: simple and refreshing,” he said. “If a summer menu proves too costly it’s important to have a diverse selection – some appropriate and popular in the summer and vica versa. Easy-to-make cocktails, like the Old Tom Collins, are simple to make and refreshing to drink. Hayman’s Sloe Gin Fizz again is simple to make and tastes like summer fruits. “Any of these can be made and served by the jug. Not only does this offer better value for money but it’s also a nice way to share a drinking experience and add to a social aspect.”