Toasting those festive spirits

Premium variants and cocktails set to be popular again


IT’S the time of year when bar, pub and restaurant customers will often be open to trying something new and spending that little bit more.
And the licensees that have the merriest Christmas will be those who manage to cater for all the diverse occasions that attract customers into their premises over the festive season, says the world’s biggest drinks firm.
According to Diageo, premium spirits are likely to be a popular choice with festive revellers across Scotland again this Christmas and new year.

Outlets need to increase their cocktail options.

Quoting figures from CGA, Diageo claimed that 5.7 million additional spirits serves are purchased in the UK on-trade over the festive season.
And there are said to be four distinct types of occasion for licensees to tap into: the Christmas get-together, the work party, the ‘big night out’ and the formal meal.
“Licensees can make the most of the occasion by planning well in advance and stocking up on must-stock premium variants, a wide range of the best-selling brands, making spirits the perfect partner to your food-led occasion, and remembering the importance of extending the occasion by offering customers a spirit combination that they might not expect to see,” said Janel Fatania, commercial planning and activation executive, on-trade, at Diageo.
Cocktails have enjoyed something of a boom in recent years, and Diageo reckons this will continue this Christmas, as customers treat themselves when they’re out celebrating.

Plan in advance and ensure you have must-stock variants.

Diageo on-trade consultant Rob Poulter said cocktails offer licensees an opportunity to encourage trade-up as “we’re seeing more consumers than ever opting to drink premium cocktails”. In fact, around a quarter of cocktail drinkers now choose cocktails at the premium end of the price range, he said.
“Outlets need to ensure they can take advantage of this by increasing their premium cocktail options and positioning them as the go-to indulgence,” said Poulter.
He added that consumers are increasingly keen for brands to be listed on the cocktail list so they know exactly what they’re drinking.
And meals, in particular, could provide a sizeable opportunity to sell more cocktails, according to Poulter.
He said that cocktails are a particularly popular choice between 7pm and 9pm, making them hugely important to restaurants.
“Similarly, over three quarters of cocktail drinkers would drink a cocktail when enjoying a casual dinner experience, with over two thirds of adult consumers opting to drink a cocktail after a meal,” said Poulter.
The company was also poised to announce its own Christmas-related marketing activity for 2016.
“We understand that social gatherings around Christmas are many and varied and our activity will tap into these occasions, whilst also inspiring and advising licensees on maximising their spirits sales during a period where over half of the adult population visits the on-trade,” said Fatania.