The end of the year calls for beer

Steps can be taken to make a good Christmas a great one with beer


THERE are less than 60 days to go until Christmas and, as November begins, licensees across Scotland can expect the kick-off to the enhanced winter trading period.

As sure as the weather will worsen, spirits won’t be dampened as more customers take shelter in the nation’s bars and enjoy a beer while they are at it.

So with venues set to enjoy burgeoning footfall, drinks firms recommended that operators take full advantage of the most wonderful time for a beer.

Andrew Lawrence, sales and operations director – Scotland at Molson Coors, whose portfolio includes lager brand Carling and Czech pilsner Staropramen, said: “Christmas is one of the most important calendar moments for pub owners.

“What’s great for Scottish pubs is that the season extends well beyond December 25. Hogmanay and all the way through to Burns Night provide brilliant opportunities to create a tailored offer to draw consumers in and keep them coming back for the rest of the year.”

Fi Leonard, customer marketing manager at C&C Group, owner of Tennent’s Lager and distributor of premium Italian lager Menabrea, reinforced that stance.

“The Christmas period is a crucial time of year for the licensed trade,” she said.

“It’s the time when festive cheer and drinks are flowing, giving operators the chance to drive increased revenue through the tills.

It’s never been more important for bar staff to be serving quality beer every single time.

“With office parties, family catch–ups and nights out taking place from mid-November, outlets can expect to enjoy a significant increase in footfall.”

And with draught beer Scotland’s number one drink in the on-trade, it’s essential to ensure the libation of choice is poured perfectly across the winter season, advised Leonard.

“It’s never been more important for bar staff to be serving quality beer every single time, as consumers have come to expect perfection, and often know what to look for,” she said.

“The best way to make sure your staff are pouring perfect pints every time is with training. Well-trained staff will ensure that queues are minimised, service standards are high and ultimately customers enjoy a brilliant experience.”

Another important consideration for licensees across the coming weeks is making sure there is enough beer in the cellar, stated Leonard.

“A top tip would be to keep on top of stock, as bars will be busier than usual, and you need to be prepared for the worst, or best, case scenario,” she said.

The need for well-delivered beer and staff training over the festive period was emphasised by Matt Starbuck, managing director of brewing and brands at Belhaven parent firm Greene King.

Hop tips

Mainstream lager brands still generate the largest spend at Christmas, so should be kept on tap.

– Molson Coors.

Offering consumers variety  remains key to having a successful Christmas so ensure you have a good mix of pub favourites.

– Belhaven.

Drawing attention to your premium range will help in maximising takings – the easiest way to do this is with POS from your suppliers.

– C&C Group.

He said: “Good cellar management, training in beer quality and an excellent understanding of each of the products by bar staff is essential to keeping the beer in perfect condition and in selling it to the customers.”

For operators intent on maximising their sales over November and December, Lawrence of Molson Coors encouraged them to increase dwell time with a paired food and drink offer.

He said: “As the months grow colder and rainy days persist, more people are going to be drawn into pubs and venues, so winter is a great time to create more reasons for customers to spend and stay with you.

“Offering a tailored food and drink pairing menu will help increase dwell time and spend per head, encouraging guests to sample more of the drinks you have on offer.”

Finally, as customers are more likely to treat themselves in the run up to Christmas, Leonard of C&C Group reckons licensees should build on their premium beer selection.

She said: “Expanding on world beer ranges allows operators to capitalise on consumers’ festive cheer.”