Refresh your range to see sales shine

As the mercury rises, so too does consumers’ thirst for quality beer and cider

Draught in some extra sales: beer and ciders on tap are expected to prove popular

WITH summer just around the corner, preparations are underway in the trade for the busy – and, hopefully, sunny – season. And as the mercury rises, so too does consumers’ thirst for quality beer and cider.

That was the message from brewers and cider makers, who told SLTN that in order to fully capitalise on summer time, licensees’ respective ranges must be up to date.

George Kyle of Tennent’s Lager and Magners parent firm, C&C Group, said: “Any hint of sunshine in Scotland will see customers flocking to the nearest pub or beer garden and, naturally, quality ice-cold refreshing lagers will be in high demand.”

He added that warmer weather can be a real money spinner in that customers may look for more premium, world lagers – meaning a varied range is vital.

“The warmer weather can also make consumers think of sunnier climates, creating a real interest in premium world lagers,” he explained.

“Alternative premium options are a great option in summer as it allows operators to capitalise on the summer feel good factor where drinkers are more inclined to treat themselves at a higher price point.”

Low and no-alcohol beers, as well as gluten-free beers, should also be on operators’ radars this summer, reckons Giselle Dye, founder of Bellfield Brewery.

She said: “We think that beers that are lower in alcohol or carry a vegan or gluten-free accreditation will be popular this summer, driven by demand from younger consumers.

Stating that gluten-free beer can be a “big sales opportunity”, Dye said that nowadays it can “hold its own alongside mainstream beers”.

It can be an opportunity to educate customers, too. Dye said: “Display gluten-free beer on your specials board and give out tasters, or do blind tastings, to show it tastes as good as any other beer.

“You’ll find you can increase footfall and takings by offering it – and promoting it as you do – and you’ll be rewarded by customers and bloggers who are vocal in their support of good outlets.”

When it comes to cider, fruit is the way forward, according to Rosie Fryer of Kopparberg, who added that draught cider will prove especially popular this summer.

“It is worth noting that draught fruit cider is significantly outperforming packaged and attention should be paid to this when considering range and fridge space,” she said.

“With draught fruit growing rapidly, outlets should maximise fonts, point of sale and branded glassware for standout and differentiation.

“During the summer months, when the cider category sees a significant sales uplift, make sure you’re stocking a fruit cider on draught in your range to take advantage of the growth within this category,” she said.

However, Fryer stressed that it is still important “to maintain a diversified portfolio containing both draught and packaged cider to cater for consumer needs for different drinking occasions”.

This was echoed by Collette Cumbes of cider firm Celtic Marches, who said that operators must be ready to adapt to changing consumer demands during the summer.

“Quick serve cans are better suited for venues with outdoor space, whilst a decent keg offering will pay dividends to an indoor venue,” she said.

“A venue’s [drinks] focus must be based on previous knowledge of their customer base and an insight into 2019’s forecasted drinks trends.”