Non-drinkers might also want to indulge themselves throughout the festive season
THE festive season is well known as a time of indulgence, but licensees would be unwise to assume that every customer coming through the doors in December will be looking to enjoy an alcoholic drink.
A general trend towards health and wellbeing is likely to continue throughout the festive season, with drinks firms advising licensees to ensure they are able to cater for any customers who – for whatever reason – are not drinking alcohol.
AG Barr marketing director, Adrian Troy, said health and wellbeing is one of the three main trends influencing consumers’ decisions on which drinks to buy (along with ‘taste and fun’ and ‘lifestyle and culture’).
“With more consumers choosing not to drink alcohol, it’s crucial that outlets offer a great range of non-alcoholic choices,” said Troy.
“Consumers expect an enhanced soft drinks experience to what they would get at home, so it’s important that soft drinks are served in a way that makes them feel special.”
Consumers expect an enhanced soft drinks experience to what they would get at home.
Amy Burgess, trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, said alcohol-free options become even more important for those venues with a younger clientele.
“For a few years now we’ve talked about how operators should focus on the rise of the teetotal consumer,” said Burgess.
“The trend is particularly key for those looking to attract young consumers and students, as nearly a quarter of under 24s in the UK are now choosing to not drink alcohol at all.”
Burgess recommended offering a number of mocktails, which she said “are becoming an increasingly popular non-alcoholic option as young adults look for a more indulgent soft drink”.
And just because a customer might not be drinking alcohol over the festive season, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t looking for a bit of indulgence.
Nearly a quarter of under 24s in the UK are choosing to not drink alcohol at all.
Nichola Grant, marketing manager at Highland Spring Group, said: “Consumers want to treat themselves when out-of-home and pubs which deliver a different experience stand to reap the benefits and help to keep their customers in the establishment for longer, make them more likely to return for another visit and recommend to friends.
“Christmas and Hogmanay is a time for indulgence and a great opportunity for outlets to upgrade their soft drinks menu to see what premium soft drinks work with customers.”
In addition to soft drinks, alcohol-free versions of products such as beer and wine can prove popular with non-drinkers.
Dan Harwood, head of wine education at Halewood Wines & Spirits, said alcohol-free wines “offer customers the chance to pop a cork – whilst remaining alcohol-free”.
“Alcohol-free wine has seen a phenomenal rise in demand in recent years, with one in five people in the UK now consciously reducing their alcohol intake,” said Harwood.
“Keeping alcohol-free options in stock means you won’t disappoint anyone who’s attempting to cut down or cut out booze. There are some great alternatives to offer.”