Visibility key to reaping rewards of buoyant category, firms say
IT might be a consequence of people travelling abroad more often or it could be down to what’s widely recognised as a growing consumer interest in the provenance of food and drink – whatever the reason, it seems world beer is continuing to flourish north of the border.
Figures from CGA Strategy show that while the value of lager sold in the Scottish on-trade fell 0.8% in the year to March, sales of world lager were up 25% in value terms in the period.
There’s certainly no shortage of choice, with different brands and styles of beer from all corners of the globe now available to the UK on-trade.
But it takes more than just stocking a broad range of unusual brands to reap the benefits of the category.
Ensuring world beers are visible – both on the drinks menu and in the back-bar chiller – is key to boosting sales, brewers and distributors have told SLTN.
“Highlight your world beer range on your menus or signpost them on your bar,” said Martin Elliot, marketing manager at Catalyst Brands, distributor of Estonian pilsner Viru,
“Blackboards and specific menus work wonders to show that your world beer range is different to your ‘standard’ beer offer.”
Sam Rhodes of Miller Brands, whose world beer portfolio includes Peroni Nastro Azzurro, said as consumer demand for world beer grows, the category “needs to be at the forefront of any outlet’s thinking, to maximise profit opportunities”.
“Trends towards treating, indulgence and provenance are on the increase, which means that consumers are willing to pay more for authenticity and style which many world beers offer,” said Rhodes.
Knowledgeable staff can also play a key role in maximising sales.
Gemma Copping of Chilli Marketing, UK distributor of the Peruvian lager Cusquena, said educated bar staff – and their recommendations – “can have a great impact on sales”.
“Beer and food matching is a great opportunity to encourage customers to try new products and to up-sell to premium drinks,” she said.
“Knowing which foods their drinks complement is a vital tool to encourage sales without the hard sell.”
Andrew Turner, category and trade marketing director for Heineken, whose portfolio includes Birra Moretti and Tiger, agreed that food pairing is a key way to boost sales of world beer.
“Offering linked purchase deals on beer with food is a great way of driving profit,” he said.
“World beers lend themselves particularly well to linked purchase deals with ethnic food.”
David Scott of Carlsberg UK, whose portfolio includes San Miguel and Staropramen, stressed the importance of delivering the ‘perfect serve’ in the correct glassware.
“It’s essential that the quality of the serve matches the premium nature of the brand,” he said.
“Operators should use the correct branded glassware and ensure that staff pour and serve a world beer well.”
Meanwhile, Budvar has opted for a slightly different ‘serve’ – having launched its beer in a can in some London bars.
The brand’s manager in Scotland, Jill Sutherland, said she’s confident the can will catch on in Scotland, claiming it offers the trade “considerable” cost savings in areas like glass washing, and is easy to serve and collect at the end of the day.
Image – Drinks firms suggested pairing world beers with food as a means of driving sales.