Draught gives on-trade the edge, brewers say
DRAUGHT beer remains a vital part of the sales mix for pubs, giving the on-trade a key point of difference over the take-home market.
But operators must get the quality and serve right if they are to reap the rewards.
That was the message from beer firms contacted by SLTN, who said serving beer of a consistently high standard is key to maximising sales.
Tennent Caledonian said licensees are at the mercy of a number of variables when it comes to draught beer.
“There are many factors which influence beer sales in the on-trade, from the economic environment to the weather,” said a spokeswoman for the brewer.
“There are many steps that publicans can take, however, to make the most of draught beer for their outlet including a great portfolio of draught brands at the bar, appropriate branded glassware, a consistent high quality serve, excellent customer service and bar staff trained to world-class standards in every aspect of pouring the perfect pint.”
There are many steps publicans can take to maximise draught beer sales in their outlet.
Chris Houlton, managing director at Greene King Brewing and Brands, said there are a number of steps operators can take to boost draught sales.
“Making sure the beer is well kept, perfectly poured into the appropriate glass and handed over with a smile all makes for the complete pub experience,” he said.
“Providing a great range of beers also makes a difference. All of these things have to be in place to keep customers coming back for more.”
Stock selection was also flagged up by brewers as playing an important role in providing the best draught experience for customers.
Width not depth was a common theme, with operators being advised that it’s better to stock a wide range of different beers to cater to customer tastes rather than a depth of beers covering the same category.
Peter Mooney, marketing manager for McEwan’s, said: “It’s important to offer variety so that it appeals to a wider audience but this needs to be carefully managed through offering a choice of the most popular keg and cask brands rather than a large variety of small, niche brands that might take longer to sell.”
Sam Rhodes, director of customer marketing at Miller Brands, said the placement of brands on the bar is key to boosting sales.
“Put the highest margin brands on stand-alone fonts and in ‘hotspots’, the highest consideration areas, as they offer good stand-out at the bar, driving awareness and sales,” said Rhodes.
Providing the best quality product for customers was also considered essential by all of the brewers contacted by SLTN.
And cellar management was highlighted as having a major impact on draught beer quality.
Jill Sutherland, head of operations for Budvar in Scotland, said: “You cannot ever overestimate the importance of cellar management.
“Although the front of house theatre is essential, without impeccable cellar practice it could be wasted. Nothing will kill an outlet’s reputation faster than pouring lousy beer.”
Sutherland’s views were echoed by John Gemmell, trading director of Heineken North.
“Efficient cellar management is a crucial part of maximising sales of draught beers and ensuring customers keep coming back,” said Gemmel.
“To achieve this objective, publicans need to ensure their draught beer is kept in perfect condition in order to provide their customers with the best quality.
“When it comes to draught beer, a huge part of this is ensuring cellars are kept clean and the correct temperature is maintained at all times.”
Draught beer is seen by producers as a product that distinguishes the on-trade from the off-trade, acting as a major draw for consumers.
Sutherland at Budvar pointed out that stocking draught beer also helps to maintain strong links between the on-trade and producers.
Although front of house theatre is essential, it could be wasted without good cellar management.
“An important factor about stocking draught that is rarely taken into account is that it creates a much closer relationship between beer supplier and stockist,” she added.
“This is because it involves regular contact between the two parties even if only routine maintenance is involved, but this in turn leads to a regular exchange of information and ideas that will help to keep sales in an outlet developing and growing.”
Image – Training, presentation and cellar management are all key to draught beer sales, say brewers.