Summer variety is the spice of life

Speciality spirits can create a point of difference, say drinks firms

Summer is said to be a key time for sales of speciality spirits.

SPECIALITY spirits can provide a key point of difference for outlets this summer, but it’s vital that any range is tailored to the venue’s customer base.

Drinks firms have told SLTN that the category’s versatility can be an effective tool for increasing footfall during summer, by offering a range of different brands and serves.
In fact, the speciality category is currently driving the growth of spirits in the on-trade, according to Nicole Goodwin, UK group marketing manager at Jägermeister.
“The spirits category is continuing to show substantial growth, with sales value up 8.3% year-on-year,” said Goodwin. “It is the speciality spirits category which is responsible for the strong growth, with the sector growing at 11.4% year-on-year in the on-trade.”
Versatility should be top of the agenda when choosing which speciality products to stock.
Nick Barker, brand manager for Midori, said speciality spirits lend themselves well to use in cocktails.
“The increased demand for cocktails in the UK has meant that many consumers have come to expect bars to have an element of speciality serves on the menu,” said Barker.
“Bars which capitalise on this trend are no doubt witnessing an increase in footfall when promoting their speciality spirits. Therefore, by not stocking a varied collection of speciality spirits, licensees are missing out on a valuable customer category.”
This is particularly true during the summer, which Barker said brings more opportunities to experiment with different recipes.
“The summer months provide great opportunities for locations to expand their offering,” said Barker.

Consumers expect bars to have an element of speciality serves.

“Monthly or themed cocktail menus can generate bursts of excitement and drive sales of summer cocktails. By alternating menus, customers have the impression of a new offering, while licensees can structure serves around their versatile speciality spirits.”
New products can also provide a talking point for customers, according to Craig Chapman, brand manager for Luxardo at Cellar Trends.
“A new flavour of a popular, established brand is worth trialling for customers, especially when it comes to serving a group of guests.
“It encourages some sociable chat about preferred flavours and comparisons.”
And having customers talk about an outlet can be an effective marketing tool in itself.
“Having a strong range of spirits will not only increase your turnover and profit, but it will also allow all types of drinkers to enjoy your bar, extending your reach and, in turn, increasing ‘word of mouth’ business,” said Angus Russell, premium brands specialist at wine and spirits merchant Inverarity Morton.
“It also allows staff to interact more with customers, allowing opportunity for up-selling and recommending products.”
However, making the most of the category is not just about buying as many different speciality products as possible, said Russell.
“Having a gargantuan back bar looks great but not if you can’t sell half of them,” he said.
“If a supplier has been knocking down your door to stock his spirit range then ask him to tie in training for your staff.
“Knowledge is critical for your staff to be able to up-sell any speciality spirit.
“Suppliers can also support you with cocktail/serve ideas and POS to help you push their brands.”

Image – Summer is said to be a key time for sales of speciality spirits.