Melissa Cole encouraged licensees to engage with local breweries in order to educate staff and choose the best beers for their outlets.
“I understand how craft could be quite daunting, but most of these small craft breweries open their doors to you,” Cole told SLTN on a recent trip to Glasgow.
“They’ll encourage your staff to come on a brew-day. They’ll allow you to get involved with it.
“A lot of these guys absolutely love doing collaborative efforts. They love having pubs coming in and getting the staff involved.
“That’s what pubs should be doing – getting involved.
“Go around, try the beers, and find what it is you’re engaged with, that you like and you think your customers will like and that you think you can get your staff to sell.”
Ensuring pub staff are enthusiastic about craft beer is the best way to encourage trial among customers, said Cole.
“It [craft] has got to be part of the mix but you’ve got to do it well,” she said.
“You’ve got to train your staff. They have to know what they’re talking about. In order to sell these products they have to engage with the consumers, so they have to be engaged with it themselves. You can’t just stick it in the fridge and expect it to sell.”
Though describing the craft category as “massive” in Scotland, the writer stressed that craft brands are not necessarily a replacement for mainstream brands.
Instead, introducing a range of craft beers can help “entice” new customers, while keeping existing regulars happy.
Pricing is also an important consideration, however.
“Don’t be tempted to over-price it [craft],” said Cole.
“Be prepared to take less GP but know you’ll have higher spending customers coming in.”
Cole was in Glasgow to speak at the Craft Beer Rising festival, which took place between September 19 and 21 at Drygate brewery.
The festival featured around 200 beers from 45 different breweries, including Scottish brewers as well as several from England and overseas.