Perfect time for planning

January provides a chance for licensees to review drinks ranges

AS the new year dawns and some resolutions have already been broken, one pledge operators should keep throughout 2019 is to keep abreast of shifting customer demands.

That’s the advice from drinks wholesalers, who provided their insights on drinks demand going forward.

Alan Hay, on-trade sales director at Tennent’s, said: “Operators should regularly review their drinks range to ensure they are meeting their customers’ needs.

“However, the beginning of the new year is an ideal time for bar owners to act.”

According to Hay, licensees should look to take advantage of the “rising popularity in contemporary, premium and world beers” in the new year.

It’s also worthwhile looking at what improvements can be made to cider ranges, added Hay.

“Growth in the packaged cider category is also coming from draught fruit variants,” he said.

“To meet consumer preference for different formats, we recommend operators look to stock both draught and packaged products.”

On the spirits side, Gregor MacLean, director at premium drinks distributor Huffmans, reckons gin will persist as the in-demand spirit in the on-trade.

He said: “Gin for us is consistently the best category.

“We focus on craft Scottish drinks, and gin is by far the biggest selling category.

“There is also a slight rise [in orders] for craft vodka and rum in Scotland.”

And the decision of which wholesalers to work with is an important one for those in the on-trade, said Hay of Tennent’s.

He advised operators to choose wholesalers which make the running of their outlets as “straightforward, simple and effective as possible”.