Get ready for a long cool summer


THERE’S been plenty of talk that the plethora of major events coming up this summer will translate into profits for pubs.

But if operators are to realise the potential events like the Diamond Jubilee stand to offer they must ensure their summer drinks offers are up to scratch.
And that means creating a list that not only suits all tastes, but reflects consumers preferences in warmer weather.
So contends Ian McLaren, head of product training and mixology at Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, the UK distributor of Bacardi, Jack Daniel’s Finlandia and Eristoff.
“Publicans and licensees looking to maximise spirits sales during the summer months should consider the needs of their customer base,” he said.
“Many people will change their drinks repertoire during the summer months, tending to favour lighter, more refreshing serves.
“There has been a huge resurgence in gin in the exclusive and select end of the on-trade, particularly in London and Edinburgh, in the past few years, which is only set to grow.
“Typically trends begin in the top-end bar arena and filter down to pubs. Pub managers can capitalise on this resurgence and offer their guests a variety of different styles of citrus, refreshing spirits serves.”
McLaren also suggested that venues offer low calorie ‘skinny serves’ and create cocktails and long drinks to match summer foods to give their outlet a point of different.
“The summer of 2012 is set to bring the nation together with an array of social events and opportunities for celebration,” he added.
“The fact so many of us will be celebrating – or commiserating – means it’s a great chance for pubs and bars to offer their customers something a little more special than traditional beer, wine or spirit choices.
“People will be looking to make the most of the extra bank holidays and quintessentially British occasions, where premium spirit serves will help them capture the celebratory mood.”
There is no guarantee, of course, that traders will benefit simply because of events of such national signifcance will be screened on TV.
Vicky Lee, trading and marketing controller at Continental Wine & Food, said it’s vital operators work “smarter and closer” with suppliers to make the most of the upcoming events and encourage consumers to spend money in their premises.
“Publicans should look at the 2012 events calendar to try and develop some events linked to the main events coming up,” she said.
“With an extra Jubilee bank holiday this year, there will be more consumers out and about seeking to spend time with friends and family in bars and pubs.
“There will be lots of competition, though, to attract a crowd so it is vital to ensure time and effort is put in in advance to ensure your establishment stands out.”
Lee also highlighted the challenges facing operators in getting the right balance with drinks lists.
“For the licensee, the difficulty is balancing the most unpredictable nature of the British weather with a range of drinks that meets consumer demand for a taste of summer in a glass,” she added.
“The solution is to ensure a range which is flexible, particularly those drinks that can be used as either mixers or as a base for cocktails.
“Thus any leftover stock from a summer season affected by poor weather can be used creatively in the run up to the festive season.”