NOBODY does beer better than the on-trade and that’s why brewers contacted by SLTN agreed on the importance of getting draught right.
While packaged beers and ciders have grown in popularity in recent years, pints of beer continue to be vital to the on-trade, said firms.
And recent trends in the market are said to have helped attract drinkers back to draught.
“Typically those who consume draught beer have been the older, traditional drinkers, but the growing trend for some consumers to seek out beers that differentiate them from the norm presents a great opportunity for draught beer,” said Hugo Mills, director of sales and operations for Molson Coors in Scotland.
The recent growth of non-standard and craft beer has sparked a resurgence in the category, said Mills, who advised that having a craft beer on the bar “provides an excellent trade-up option for drinkers”.
However that doesn’t mean operators should ignore their standard beer offer either, said Mills.
“Draught beer has always performed well in Scotland, as the traditional, regular drinkers will head to their local pub to have a pint of their favourite brew,” he said.
With broadened tastes and an ever-growing range of beers available on draught, there’s a lot to consider when building a draught beer range.
Jeremy Houston, on-trade national account manager at Innis & Gunn, said operators should look towards “product quality, product ‘sellability’ and a good support package” when choosing their beers.
“There is really no hard and fast rule as to how many a venue should offer,” said Houston.
“To identify the opportunity you need to understand the market.
“Engage with customers and find out what they’d like to see in a new range, both draught and packaged.
“Then scope out the competition in your area to see who’s doing what and how – can you improve upon that or offer a point of difference?”
Andrew Turner, category and trade marketing director for the on-trade at Heineken UK, agreed that it’s important for licensees to “read the marketplace” to get the right draught beer offer.
“Take the time to engage with your customers, note which brands they drink and build your range accordingly,” he said.
“By speaking to your customers and monitoring purchases, you can successfully tailor your range to suit your market and ensure that you always have new and vibrant brands the target consumers want.”
Quoting Heineken UK research, Turner said 45% of consumers don’t know what they will order until they get to the bar – a figure publicans should be taking advantage of.
“We’d recommend using POS and displays to highlight your range to customers as soon as they enter your venue in order to influence and interrupt their purchase decisions,” he added.
If the right range and strong marketing can get a customer to purchase their first pint, it still falls to staff to encourage purchase of the second.
Houston said the ‘perfect serve’ is “hugely important” as both brewers and consumers expect high standards.
“Mediocrity just won’t do these days,” he said, adding that branded glassware “is the norm, not the exception” when selling draught.
Houston also highlighted some of the essentials of a perfect pint.
“Using the right glassware improves the look and feel of the product and drives rate of sale,” he said.
“Lines must be cleaned regularly to avoid contamination.
“Staff need to know how to pour correctly, not least to minimise wastage, but also to make sure the beer is presented as it should be.”
Mills also stressed the importance of a quality serve.
“When it comes to the perfect pint, delivery is just as important as taste,” he said. “Ensuring that drinkers are receiving the perfect serve and an enjoyable experience is crucial, regardless of the season.
“Drinks must be served in clean, cool and dry glasses, and we recommend putting a 10mm head on each pint.”