Ale gives pubs a racing chance

Quality and consistency the watchwords at Heineken UK roadshow

BREWER Heineken UK took customers to the races with John Smith’s last week in a bid to drive sales in pubs.

More than 160 existing and potential customers attended the open day at Hamilton Park Racecourse, where the brewer offered tips on product quality and spread the word about the John Smith’s brand.
Allan Stevenson, of Heineken UK’s Glass Act beer quality initiative, spoke to licensees about the importance of delivering the ‘perfect pint’ every time, before Barry Cairns, the brewer’s pub and club specialist, offered advice on everything from VAT to contracts of employment.
Representatives from Racing UK and a gaming machine supplier were also there to highlight how operators can generate more footfall.
Licensees also got the chance to take part in a prize draw and enjoy the races at Hamilton Park, underlining John Smith’s sponsorship links to the sport.
Alasdair Moore, regional sales director at Heineken UK, told SLTN that tough trading conditions mean it’s more important than ever for operators to up their game on quality.
“It’s a tough old market out there, let’s be honest, so it’s about how we can help pubs and clubs improve, or at least retain, their cash flow,” he said.
“We’re looking at any way we can try and help our customers in the current climate.
“The thought process behind the event was to engage with customers – a combination of existing customers, customers who don’t stock John Smith’s and potential customers.
“Obviously one of the reasons behind it was to try and gain new distribution for John Smith’s and our other brands. But people also got the opportunity to speak to our pubs and clubs specialist and learn more about Glass Act.
“Delivering the perfect serve is crucial.
“If you’re a customer you’re looking for an awful lot more in an outlet, particularly when you’re paying upwards of £2.50 for a pint.
“Products nowadays have to be served in pristine condition, in branded glassware and in a consistent manner.
“If you don’t use branded glassware, the consumer experience can be poor.
“We’re giving the best training available to our customers and their staff to try and ensure the consumer is getting value for money and a good experience so they will come back.”
Moore said the positive response gleaned from the event at Hamilton Park means the brewer may hold similar events in future.
“It was very successful,” he said. “I’d certainly do it again, maybe in another area.
“It’s about bringing together our whole trade proposition and our support for the trade.
“In the last couple of years with Heineken it’s all been about quality of service; it’s very brand focused and it’s about getting the right brands into the right outlet and providing the right support.
“We’ve done similar events in the past for clubs and this time we adapted it for pubs and clubs.
“We’re here to support the whole trade.”