Customers to keep it classy

Wholesalers predict growth in high-end products will continue

Premium beers, wines and spirits are expected to continue to grow this year, say wholesalers.
Premium beers, wines and spirits are expected to continue to grow this year, say wholesalers.

Premium products with quality ingredients and a clear provenance will continue to be among the most popular in Scotland’s bars and pubs in 2016, according to two of Scotland’s biggest wholesalers.
Inverarity Morton and Wallaces TCB have both predicted that demand for premium products – whether in wine, beer or spirits – will remain high among their on-trade customers in the next 12 months, after a year of growth in 2015.
“Over the last few years it’s become clear that consumers are increasingly interested in the quality and provenance of their food and drink choices, and that’s a trend we expect to continue throughout 2016,” said Wallaces TCB trade marketing manager, Nicola Henderson.
“Brands that can demonstrate quality ingredients, history and a regional tie will enjoy success in the on-trade.”
Toby Sigouin, wine buyer at Inverarity Morton, said there has been “a definite move towards drinking ‘less but better’” during the past year.
“Factors influencing this trend include the reduced drink drive limits, and also consumers starting to feel more comfortable again about trading up due to the economic situation improving,” said Sigouin.
He added that Inverarity Morton has seen single-varietal wines from the south of France, such as Viognier, perform particularly well in recent months, as well as wines from producers in regions in northern Spain and the cooler regions of Australia.
And customer tastes are changing, said Sigouin.
“While Prosecco continues to grow apace, a small reduction globally in sales of Italian Pinot Grigio may be a timely warning that consumers are moving onto other varietals and through 2016 we would expect to see Pinot Grigio sales falling a little further,” he said.
Product ranges aren’t all the firms are focusing on in 2016, however.
Henderson said she expects licensees to continue to demand a high level of service from wholesalers, with support such as online ordering and staff training more important to customers than ever.
“Publicans will be looking for their wholesaler to be responsive, efficient, and comprehensive,” she said.
And Sigouin said staff training will continue to be a focus for Inverarity Morton in the year ahead.
“Staff training is and will continue to be a major pillar in our customer support package because we know what a difference even a little bit of knowledge makes to confidence, professionalism and wine sales,” he added.