Bright times for draught beer

But operators must look beyond the weather to boost sales

A surge in summer sunshine could help boost sales of draught beer in the Scottish on-trade.

THE Scottish thirst for beer may increase with a spot of sunshine, but publicans can’t count on warm weather alone if they are to make the most of the category this summer.

In a month when the thermometer finally climbed above 20°C – and even nudged 30ºC at times – consumers would have been turning to chilled drinks to keep them cool.
But brewers have warned that sunshine is no excuse for complacency when it comes to organisation and beer quality.
Ian Risby, Scottish divisional manager for Wells & Young’s, the firm behind McEwan’s, said while the summer weather can benefit the trade, licensees must be properly prepared for the heat when it arrives.
“The recent hot weather can only be a good thing for the trade as it will encourage more people to socialise out of home,” he said.
“A cold beer is a well known choice to quench thirst on a hot day so it’s vital that outlets have enough to meet the demand, keep any chillers maintained and practice best serve by ensuring washed glasses cool down before pouring a new drink.”
David McGowan, commercial manager at Guinness owner Diageo, said the weather will almost certainly have played a role in increasing beer sales in the on-trade.
“The past few weeks have seen temperatures in Scotland approaching 30 degrees and anecdotal evidence suggests that more people are visiting the on-trade, which is good news for all categories, particularly beer,” he said.
However, he said it is vital that operators ensure coolers and cellar equipment are working properly, and that staff are trained to consistently deliver the perfect serve.
While the brewers are doing their best to market the category and raise awareness, the biggest difference can be made on the front line, according to Christ Houlton, managing director for Greene King Brewing and Brands.
Houlton said the Belhaven owner relies on “the passion and professionalism” of its customers to ensure the consumer gets the perfect serve.
Quality product “will count for nothing,” said Houlton, “if cellar standards don’t come up to scratch.”
John Gilligan, managing director of Tennent Caledonian, also highlighted the importance of cellar management.
“Cellar management is crucial to the delivery of a consistently good pint and to the quality of draught beer served, which, in turn, will deliver better sales and reduce wastage,” he said.
That’s not to say that the UK’s major brewers are resting on their laurels, however.
The Let There Be Beer campaign, a collaboration between SAB Miller, Carlsberg, AB InBev, Heineken and Molson Coors, was launched earlier in the month to promote the beer category as a whole.
Sam Rhodes, director of customer marketing at Miller Brands, said a successful outcome to the campaign would see consumers “look afresh at which drinks they choose at the bar or in the supermarket and find a beer that they love”.
And Carlsberg UK’s director of brands and insight, David Scott, reckons the collaboration gives both publicans and brewers a chance to promote the category. “By bringing the industry together there’s a real opportunity to remind everyone about the flavour and diversity of beer, its culture and history, and its ability to ground us and help us to celebrate the good things in life and the happiest occasions,” he said.

Image – A surge in summer sunshine could help boost sales of draught beer in the Scottish on-trade.