From mulled concoctions to Christmas cocktails, there’s a vast range of exciting seasonal drinks for customers visiting the on-trade this year, but spirits and cider don’t have a monopoly on merriment.
With the festive season now upon us, beer sales are also seeing a lift, and the firms behind some of the biggest brands in the Scottish on-trade reckon the boost to the category will continue into the new year.
Nicola Henderson, on-trade marketing manager at Tennent Caledonian Breweries, said that with the increase in footfall over the festive season, best sellers “will undoubtedly see a rise in sales”.
“Publicans should prepare for this by making sure they’re well stocked and that lines and glassware are squeaky clean to guarantee the perfect pour every time,” said Henderson.
Stalwarts of the beer taps may see a lift in sales, but Henderson also suggested that premium pints could come into their own as customers look to treat themselves.
“With Christmas being a special time of year, many customers will also be willing to spend a bit more on a premium offering, and stocking great quality premium beers […] is a way for publicans to take full advantage of this,” said Henderson.
Andrew Turner, category and trade marketing director for the on-trade at Heineken UK, agreed that customers are more likely to buy premium brands at Christmas time, and suggested this makes the festive period “a good time to stock world beers”.
Turner added that Christmas is also “a great time to showcase your food offering” and said that with “72% of adults [going] to the pub for food” publicans are presented with “a good opportunity to advise customers about pairing cider and beer with food”.
With demand for both traditional big sellers and premium brands expected to be high from now until January, Turner advised publicans to keep on top of their beer stock.
“Make sure you have enough stock for the biggest brands and encourage staff to recommend premium brands to customers who may be interested in trading up,” he said.
Staff recommendation was highlighted by Henderson too, who suggested it would be worthwhile to make sure staff are up to speed on their product knowledge.
“Another fantastic way to guide customers toward drinks that they’ll enjoy is by investing in staff knowledge and training so that staff are confident in making recommendations,” said Henderson.
“Many customers will be inclined to try a product that’s recommended to them by a member of staff, and, in addition to driving trial and purchase, making recommendations are a great way to engage with your clientele and make a positive contribution to their overall experience.”