Drinks firms told SLTN that with two major sporting events on Scottish soil and a month of World Cup football in Brazil, conditions will be ripe for boosting beer sales.
“This year is another big one for sport with the World Cup in summer, the Commonwealth Games, and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles to look forward to,” said Ian Risby of Wells & Young’s.
“We would expect to see an increase in on-trade beer sales on the back of these as beer and live sports tend to go hand in hand.”
This year is another big one for sport with the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.
The Commonwealth Games is expected to attract a large number of visitors, and operators can capitalise on both the “obvious opportunity” for Glasgow-based outlets and an expected “upsurge” in tourism across the country, said Risby.
David Scott of Carlsberg UK agreed that customers will come out for both the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup but warned that a publican’s offer “must be better” than what consumers can get at home.
“The key reason someone chooses to watch the sport in the pub is the atmosphere, so you must make your pub the place to watch live sport,” said Scott. “Get people engaged with predictor leagues, get behind individual participants/teams and dress your pub.”
Both suppliers and licensees must provide “an unrivalled drinking experience”, said Andrew Turner of Heineken, who stressed the importance of offering customers something better than they can get in their homes.
“Only by offering a superior service, innovative products and a top quality drinking experience every visit, will licensees be able to secure footfall and retain their customer base all year round,” said Turner.
Once operators have brought customers through the door, it’s important to make the most of the opportunity.
Graham Archibald of Morgenrot suggested operators reflect the international flavour of this year’s big sporting events in their product range.
“Watching these big events in the on-trade is the type of occasion when consumers treat themselves so having an array of premium beers which can tempt them to pay a little more can be very advantageous,” said Archibald.
“As we can see in the cask sector, consumers are enjoying variety so venues shouldn’t be scared to be creative and change things up.
“For the World Cup, look at the beers from nations who are expected to do well in the tournament as opposed to stocking beers from every obscure country.”
Martin Coyle, director of emerging markets and craft at Molson Coors, agreed that operators should “take advantage of the global nature” of the summer’s events by stocking a range of world beers.
“These will tap into people’s desires to sample the taste of the nations competing,” he said.
The advice to operators to focus on world beers coincides with increased consumer interest in this and the craft sectors, according to Sam Rhodes, director of customer marketing at Miller Brands.
“Whilst volumes of craft are small, it still demonstrates that consumers want to discover new tastes and trial different beers, which helps to drive world beer sales and overall draught beer sales,” he said.
As well as brands from other countries, there may also be scope for publicans to grow sales of homegrown beers.
Having an array of premium beers to tempt customers to pay a little more can be very advantageous.
Gerald Michaluk of the Arran Brewery said that stocking local craft beer “is going to be a winner” this summer with visitors “keen to drink local beers”.
“A good range is important as well as some keg offerings of craft beer if your tie permits,” said Michaluk.
With the potential for a host of new customers – both locals and visitors – to be in pubs this summer, quality must remain a priority, and covering the basics is a must.
Nicola Samons, marketing manager for Guinness at Diageo, suggested licensees make sure they stay on top of the five “fundamental principles”: product, dispense system, hygiene, glassware and serve.