Bank holiday sun is a blessing for the trade across Scotland
THE Scottish on-trade was given an early taste of summer late last month when the sun split the skies over the Easter weekend.
And operators with outside areas were the winners as customers packed beer gardens to make the most of the weather.
The sun was said to be a contributing factor to a busy weekend for Cheers Bar and Tavern in Fraserburgh.
Owner and operator Dennis Forsyth told SLTN sales for the Saturday and Sunday were up 30% on the same weekend last year.
“I think we benefited not only from the good weather, but also the Sky Sports triple header on Sunday,” said Forsyth, who screened all three English Premiership matches in a row in his beer garden on Easter Sunday.
Forsyth, who renovated part of his 300-capacity beer garden in March to include a 70-cover sheltered al fresco area, said as the weather improves, the outside area is a “really attractive proposition” for people.
With warmer weather on the way, Forsyth expects “healthy cider, wine and beer sales,” for the summer months.
“We will be focusing on increasing wine sales in particular,” he said. “Rosé will dominate, followed by white.”
Forsyth has also created a cocktail pitcher offer which he thinks will be big over the summer.
“Our cocktail jug range is hugely popular,” he said.
“It’s a great way to serve multiple customers quickly.
“With 26 to choose from, our customers love them. They’re excellent sellers in our outside bar in good weather.”
Forsyth added that despite the broad range, the cocktails are kept simple enough for staff to make when it’s busy.
If it looks like it’s going to be over 11 degrees we order in four times as much stock.
“We find if you’re serving things in bulk then the easier they are to make the more consistency you get,” he said.
“We keep it simple for staff to knock it up; there’s nothing better than sharing a cocktail jug between three or four people.”
Pitcher sales also helped grow drinks sales at The Peartree in Edinburgh where, according to manager George Fyvie, “it was like a Wimbledon final” weekend in terms of Pimms sales.
The Peartree’s beer garden, which has a capacity of 480, was full throughout the weekend, said Fyvie.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“It was like a [Edinburgh] Festival day.”
And The Peartree was prepared for the challenges that come with an extra influx of guests.
“We always plan for the weather and put extra staff on,” said Fyvie.
“We have teams on the beer garden and teams on the bar.”
Fyvie added that management at The Peartree keeps an eye on the weather forecast when it comes to putting in drinks orders.
“If it looks like it’s going to be over 11 degrees we order in four times as much [stock],” he said. “On that weekend (Easter) we went through eight times as much.”
Overlooking the River Kelvin in Glasgow, the beer garden of Inn Deep was busy “from Thursday evening until Monday evening”, said manager Hamish Louttit.
And despite preparing for the holiday weekend, stocks of draught beer and packaged beers and ciders were emptied each day.
“We had extra stock in but we were going back to the brewery on Saturday and Sunday,” said Louttit, who along with fellow managers Amy Williams and Sandy Macmillan, were on call all weekend. And after the success of Easter, Louttit is confident for the summer. “I think it’s going to be a good year,” he said.