WITH autumn just around the corner many beer drinkers, just like their spirits-drinking counterparts, could be on the lookout for drinks suited to the new season.
And operators that are well prepared for this seasonal shift could stand to benefit, say drinks firms.
Jessica Markowski, head of trade marketing at AB InBev, which counts Corona, Budweiser and Stella Artois in its drinks stable, said “there is a noticeable shift in consumers’ beer choices as the days get darker and colder as people change from choosing a ‘refreshing’ beer to seeking out brands which have alternative flavour profiles”.
“To prepare for the colder weather, licensees should make sure they are stocked up on a range of brands, from the most popular premium lagers to those with more unusual flavours and presentation styles to reflect the increasing number of new and existing customers that will come together for a drink during this period,” she said.
And while Christmas is a while away yet, Alan Hay of Tennent’s reckons there are plenty of opportunities between now and then that pubs can capitalise on – particularly, football.
In the football calender, the SPFL and English Premiership seasons have both kicked off, and with the Champions League group stages starting on September 12, these are all “big draws for beer drinkers to watch the games in the on-trade”, according to Hay.
“Promoting the games in advance, having visible big screens and ensuring you have sufficient staff levels to meet the demand that comes with a big sporting occasion will encourage footfall and allow drinkers to have a great experience in-bar,” he said.
Faith Holland of Diageo echoed Hay’s view, stating that various sports events, including the Rugby World Cup, “provide excellent opportunities for beer sales”.
But to truly capitalise on the demand brought about by sporting events, building excitement ahead of every match “is essential to driving sales”.
“Achieve this through using POS to drive visibility both inside and out, and advertise fixtures ahead of time to ensure footfall,” said Holland.
“Making sure your outlet can influence each part of the consumer’s journey to watch the match is essential.”
Holland added that creating a fun and exciting atmosphere “is crucial”.
Food pairings can also play an important role during the colder months, according to Markowski of AB InBev. She said it “is a good way to boost sales if you can offer a range of winter menu options to complement a variety of beers”.
This was supported by Liam Newton of Carlsberg, who said operators that spend time developing food and beer pairings “can create a new experience for their patrons and drive interest”.
“Craft beer can go anywhere wine can and, in many ways, the basic principle is the same: match the intensity of flavour in the food and the beer,” he said.