That was the message from producers and distributors last week, who advised operators to consider both the range and serves offered to make the most of any opportunities to grow sales of speciality spirits.
The three summer opportunities are cocktails, shots and new flavours.
Emma Heath, marketing controller for Sourz, said summer can present “crucial opportunities for traders to maximise potential rate of sale with speciality spirits”.
“As the summer kicks in and temperatures rise, consumers look for refreshing, fruit-based alcoholic drinks,” said Heath.
Simon Green, marketing director at Global Brands, whose portfolio includes Bundaberg rum and Goldschlager, said a strong speciality spirits range provides the “perfect base for a range of engaging serves, encouraging consumers to go out rather than stay in and, therefore, maximising spend in outlet”.
Green highlighted some key ways in which operators can boost sales of speciality spirits this summer.
“There are three main opportunities which all bars should consider when looking at their drinks offers for the summer months: cocktails, shots and shooters, and new innovative flavours, for example flavour trends and summer flavours,” said Green.
And although the summer months may be the current focus for publicans, Green suggested that operators assess their speciality spirits range throughout the year.
“Licensees should review their speciality spirits range constantly to pick up new consumer trends early to make sure they are taking full advantage of key periods, such as summer and Christmas, and tailor how they promote seasonal serves in order to maximise sales,” he said.
Publicans should stock speciality spirits that have flexibility and can be used in a variety of different serves.
Graham Coull, director of VC2 brands the firm behind Stivy’s, Boe gin and Paris Rose vodka liqueur, agreed that it was important for publicans to review their range, but suggested this should only be carried out twice per year.
“You need to allow brands to be recognised and developed – it’s not a quick fix, you do need to work at your range and keep it fresh but also keep a form of continuity,” said Coull.
Coull did agree, however, that having a broad range was key, highlighting the impression a varied line-up can leave on a customer.
“A strong range can provide additional added value sales through creative cocktails and mixers, and it gives a good ‘trust me’ factor when you have a spread of products, not just a limited boring selection,” said Coull.
When building a range, Coull suggested publicans should stock speciality spirits that offer “flexibility, that can be used in other ways, as part of long drinks, shots, cocktails and pitchers so they have more sales opportunities”.
These kinds of serves represent the main opportunities for growing sales of speciality spirits this summer, according to Coull, but stocking them alone may not convert into sales.
“The brands should also have strong eye visibility to consumers, so bright colours,” he added.