Go worldwide with your range

Diversity is the name of the game for International Beer Day

World beers should be at the fore of an outlet’s selection for International Beer Day

WITH International Beer Day less than a month away (August 2), it’s fair to say that a raft of world mainstream and craft brands will be vying for space on taps and in bar fridges in pubs across the country.

But for operators looking to fully capitalise on the occasion, what are the most important considerations?

Diversity is the name of the game, according to brewers.

Simon George, managing director of Budweiser Budvar UK, said: “Celebrate the diverse range of beer styles available by looking to stock Belgian trappist ales, true lager beers from the Czech Republic, dunkel beers and wheat beers from Germany, porters from Ireland – there are so many styles to celebrate.

“And progressive wholesalers, such as New Wave, can help the licensee make choices from their wide range.”

George added that operators should also look out for special collaborations, especially those which are exclusive to the on-trade.

Sarah Stirton, marketing and events manager at Stewart Brewing, said promotion is also important.

“The build-up is key,” she explained.

“Make people feel like they will be missing out if they don’t make it down.

“You could do a special food and beer offer, or set up a brewery collaboration, or just get some great new lines on. Whatever it is, be clear about what you have to offer and shout about it.”

The build-up is key; make people feel like they will be missing out if they don’t make it down.

But if licensees do choose to offer new brews for International Beer Day, they still have to factor in their clientele’s tastes, according to Stirton.

She said: “Consider what your customers normally like; you don’t want to throw a 7% ABV smoked porter at a group used to drinking 4% ABV session IPA.

“Figure out what your most popular product lines are, then go for something just a little departed from that. For example, if your session IPA sells well, go for something with a similar ABV but a more interesting hop profile.”

A pub’s beer range must also cater to potential drinks allergies and dietary preferences as these consumers are often “the deciders” when a group of friends choose a venue, reckons Giselle Dye, director of Bellfield Brewery.

She said: “Offering a gluten-free and vegan beer at your pub or restaurant puts it on the map as a place for people to go, regardless of who makes up their group.

“It’s not about catering for people with ‘illnesses’; it’s about offering exceptional beer that tastes great and that everyone can enjoy.

Offer a wide selection of beers on tap, as well as in bottles, and make sure your staff have tasted them.

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

And if operators choose to stock gluten-free or vegan beers for this year’s International Beer Day, Dye stressed that they must be properly accredited with the ‘cross grained’ symbol and licence number from Coeliac UK and the vegan sunflower symbol.

“If you’re offering a gluten-free draught beer, display it on the specials board and give out tasters or do blind tastings to show it tastes as good as any other beer,” said Dye.

When it comes to promoting your beers generally, excellent staff knowledge is said to be essential.

Dye said: “Offer a wide selection of beers on tap as well as in bottles and make sure your staff have tasted them, so they can talk to customers with confidence about debut beer styles.”