A different perspective

Meghan Haste of Venachar Lochside in Callander details what’s selling this summer

Meghan Haste’s venue features a 65-cover outdoor area, which overlooks Loch Venachar

Do you expand or alter your drinks ranges during the warmer months?

Yes, with a massive increase in footfall over the summer months, we increase our drinks menus. We have a basic wine menu all year round and in the summer we increase our range by adding fruitier and summer vibe wines.

We also increase our beer and soft drink options to involve a wider selection of local drink suppliers. For example, all year round we have at least three Harviestoun Brewery beers; however, in the summer months we also offer a selection of Fallen Brewing and Dalrannoch beers.

Which drinks are proving popular this summer? Anything unexpected?

Mocktails seems to be a big trend this summer. This is something we started last year, but this year we have really seen a rise in sales of these. From a simple serve using fresh fruit juices, to non-alcoholic gin and tonics, they have been flying out the door!

Are seasonal beer/spirits lists just as important nowadays as summer wine lists? If so, why?

Definitely. Spirits and beers are becoming more and more popular. As a food-led venue, we have noticed a massive change in drinks trends; people usually ordering a wine to go with their meal are now ordering beer or a spirit.

We have introduced a new drinks list with not only which wines match each dish, but also which beer or cocktail matches the flavours in our summer food menus.

Which cocktail serves are proving popular this summer?

One ingredient that we ensure to use in at least one of our cocktails every day is elderflower. We find any serve which features elderflower is usually the most popular.

How big is your outdoor area? How important is it to your summer drinks offering?

Our outdoor area can seat up to 65 guests and is an essential part of our business over the summer months. This year, we have hosted many events in our outdoor areas – from a showcase of our local suppliers to charity events, our outdoor area is almost always fully booked.

We intend to host many more outdoor events, allowing local suppliers to make the most of the space to promote their business by utilising it for the likes of whisky tastings or product launches.

What’s your favourite summer drink and why?

My favourite summer drink has got to be a big jug of Pimms with loads of fresh fruit and ice. Pimms has always been associated with summer as it is so refreshing. It is almost like tradition in my family to have Pimms at a summer gathering.