Some customers visiting Scotland’s pubs at this time of year will be returning from a foreign holiday where, in addition to a welcome change in climate, they may have made some changes to their drinking repertoire.
Flavours from around the world are certainly having an impact on beer taps, say brewers, with world beer continuing to prove popular in Scotland’s pubs and bars.
David Scott, director of brands and insight at Carlsberg UK, said there is growing consumer interest in world beer at the moment, and operators should seek to make the most of this.
“Consumers are increasingly aware of beers from other markets and interested in the differing flavour profiles,” said Scott.
Flavour profile is key and publicans should offer their customers a range that covers a number of different styles, Scott suggested.
“Operators should remember that consumers are looking for flavours that will make them want to savour every sip and a pub or bar that makes it easy to try new styles will be repaid with a loyal fan base,” he said.
Genna Burchell, marketing manager for world beers at Charles Wells, the brewer behind Estrella Damm in the UK, agreed that flavour profile should be considered “first and foremost”.
“No beer is worth considering if it doesn’t have a great taste because this will drive consumer choice and rate of sale,” said Burchell.
Molson Coors Scotland customer marketing manager Julie McGraw said consumers are looking to “explore something new and different when it comes to world beer”.
“Our research shows that Scottish drinkers are a bit more adventurous, and they like to explore and discover new brands, passionately share their new finds with their peer group and influence what others drink on a night out,” said McGraw.
But it’s not just flavour that will fuel further growth, said McGraw.
Publicans need to make sure their offer is eye-catching too.
“As with all beer, the look and serve of a brand is of huge importance in telling its story and encouraging trial,” she said.
Sam Rhodes of Miller Brands, the firm behind Peroni in the UK, said a good world beer range provides an opportunity to up-sell, but offered a word of caution against stocking too many niche world beers.
“Only a third of consumers have pre-determined brand choices when approaching the bar so can be tempted to trade up if interesting options are available,” said Rhodes.
“While low awareness brands deliver excitement for some, they can deliver fear for others and all consumers look for the comfort of familiarity at some occasion.”