The trade can be the real winner

A solid drinks offer during June and July’s footballing extravaganza is essential

People giving the thumbs up
Scottish pubs and bars with a good range of drinks could enjoy a triumphant World Cup, even though the nation’s football team won’t.

THE drought of international football every other summer means that venues can really celebrate every time a major tournament rolls around – and since it’s been four years since the last World Cup, it’s time to get excited, and prepare for, the biggest sporting occasion in the world.

The prospect of wall-to-wall football for a month will naturally delight many in the on-trade as even those who only take a fleeting interest in the beautiful game get caught up in the global festivities.

With a great opportunity to grow takings, operators can really cash in on this year’s World Cup by focusing on getting the drinks that they offer just right, firms told SLTN.

And lager should form the foundation of a good summer drinks range, said Claire Arnott, head of customer activation at Tennent’s.

“The summer months are a key trading period for licensees across Scotland to capitalise on the potential sunshine and big sporting events that will help drive footfall into their outlets,” she said. “Kicking off in June, the sporting highlight of the year is undoubtedly going to be the World Cup, with millions of eyes across the globe glued to the TV.

“Despite Scotland not making it to this year’s tournament, the summer football will still be high on the agenda for Scots, so it’s important that licensees make the most of this opportunity to maximise the potential revenue.

“Lager performs well year-round and is the undisputed top-selling category in the on-trade, but will sell particularly well during any sporting occasions. It’s vital that draught ranges are built around a guaranteed best-seller.

“Maintaining healthy stock levels and ensuring you are consistently pouring quality pints is a sure-fire way of maximising footfall and making your customers happy.”

A focus on beer was also tipped by Aly Bayne of Innis & Gunn to be a great way to keep tills ringing across the season.

He said: “Summer, in general, sees an upturn in beer sales but if the sun is shining and there are strong events on then it can absolutely fly.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what impact the World Cup can have on footfall to pubs over the coming weeks.”

Throughout the summer there is expected to be an upturn in the number of people looking to pair food and drink, and the novelty of matching international beers to international dishes in venues can help provide an offer that not only satisfies guests’ appetites but also demonstrates a thought-out approach to the World Cup crowd, according to Martyn Railton, managing director of UK craft beer importer Euroboozer.

“With consumer interest in new cuisines and international flavours growing all the time, the world really is your oyster in 2018 when it comes to beer and food matching,” said Railton.

“It’s World Cup year so this is the perfect opportunity to add some international flair to the menus and get some beer, football and food collaboration going.”

Yet while beer is essential to any offer targeting the football crowd, other categories shouldn’t be neglected, reckons Hi-Spirits’ managing director, Dan Bolton.

“Events such as the World Cup are key opportunities for operators to review their drinks range,” he said.  “It’s important to spread the net wider than beer – there are plenty of occasions which can drive sales of spirit drinks.”

Eden Mill co-founder, Paul Miller, agreed.

He said: “We know how much consumers love something quirky, seasonal and fun. The World Cup is a great opportunity for venues to get creative with new themed serves and cocktails inspired by the event.”