Staff are key to big beer sales

Knowledge can help to raise the bar

Men in a bar

AS the beer category continues to grow and diversify, the task of staying on top of the myriad of new beers on the market is an increasingly difficult one for the country’s bar owners and their teams.

However, encouraging staff to swot up on their brews can make a big difference to beer sales in pubs and bars, drinks firms told SLTN.

Mark Bentley of Molson Coors said that while there’s been a general trend toward decreased alcohol consumption in recent years, that tendency can actually offer an opportunity to the on-trade – provided they focus on quality, not quantity.

“While consumers are going out less, they’re increasingly willing to trade up, spend more per drink and try something new; and this is true with beer too,” said Bentley.

“The best way to help consumers navigate their way through your range of craft, cask or world beers is with help from well-informed bar staff.

“Bartender knowledge is massively important.

“The element of choice is what’s driving the beer category at the moment, and bartenders play a vital role here, making sure that consumers know about the different products on offer.”

Jo Stewart, co-founder of Stewart Brewing, agreed, saying that a better knowledge of the modern beer market helps bartenders increase their capacity to endorse and up-sell.

“Today’s beer drinker is more open to trying new beers,” she said.

“Bartender knowledge has a big influence on the drinkers’ choice so ensuring bar staff are knowledgeable about the beer and flavours available will allow them to make recommendations to customers and encourage them to try something new.”

And Andrew Chapman, Keith Brewery’s chief operating officer, said knowledgeable staff are “very important when it comes to persuading the consumer to try something different”. 

“If a bartender does not feel comfortable in their knowledge of a product then he is a lot less likely to engage with the consumer,” said Chapman.

With the ever-widening array of beers coinciding with many improved food offers in bars, the ability to successfully pair different beers with different food can be a great way to augment sales.

Sam Fielding, craft beer brand unit director for Heineken, said: “Many diners choose to have a beer with a meal and the huge variety available makes it a great match for all types of food. 

“A great way to maximise your sales is to make sure your staff are well versed on your range and able to recommend which drink to match with which dishes on your menus.”