Preparation is key to summer

Operators who plan ahead will reap rewards, say drinks firms

• Cider is seen as a “quintessentially summer drink”, but wine and cocktails could also be popular.

ALTHOUGH it’s never possible to anticipate the weather ahead of a Scottish summer, there are some steps operators can take to ensure they have their bases covered whatever the outcome.

By making a few tweaks to product ranges now, drinks firms say licensees can reap the benefits in the coming months – regardless of the weather.
Guy Chatfield, director of sales at Inverarity Morton, said that “in the same way as our food preferences change with the seasons, our drink preferences do also”.
“From a wine perspective if you don’t address your rosé and white wine offerings you are making a big commercial mistake,” said Chatfield.
“Within the rosé category, I’d advise a selection of at least two different wines – a dry and a blush style – this will allow you to capture customers looking for either rather than disappointing one who can’t get what they want.”
Preparation is key, said Julie Ingham of Continental Wine and Food (CWF).
Ingham reckons wine-based cocktails could be a popular addition to summer drinks lists this year.
“While many licensees focus on spirit-based long mixed drinks, there is a growing interest among consumers in wine-based cocktails, which can be utilised to add interest to a drinks offering while boosting profits,” she said.
It isn’t just wine sales that can be grown through a summer cocktail list, however.
“Having a large selection of drinks available is extremely important,” said Alasdair Dickinson, brand ambassador for single malt whisky Auchentoshan.
“Consumers want a range of options to choose from and are often intrigued to try something new, especially in cocktails.
“The summer is often a great time to experiment with stock changes or make additions.”
And high-end style bars aren’t the only ones that could benefit from a summer cocktail list.

The summer is often a great time to experiment with stock changes.

“By extending the range of drinks available, pubs are able to meet a wider range of drinking occasions, driving footfall, consumer spend and repeat custom,” said Roy Summers, sales director for the on-trade at First Drinks.
“All pubs should think about offering a cocktail selection, though licensees should ensure they consider their core audience before deciding on their menu.”
Beer and cider are seen as core categories over summer, with cider described by Glen Friel, sales and marketing director of Aston Manor Cider, as “a quintessentially summer drink”.
“The warm weather attracts new category drinkers so a suitable range appropriate to the outlet is common sense,” said Friel.
But the drinks list is only part of the overall customer experience, according to Chris Jowsey, trading director at Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars.
“Remember adding a theatre/ritual to the serve is a must and a way to command that premium price point,” said Jowsey.
“Consumers have higher expectations than ever before, make sure your service of beers and ciders as a minimum meets this but always aim to exceed.
“Ask yourself: would you pay for that pint?”