A “Scarily” Great Opportunity to Increase Sales

It is an understatement to say that hospitality and licensed on trade has had the most difficult period in living memory, and badly needs “lift”.
Well, look no further than Halloween and Guy Fawkes night! Two great winter evenings to put some fun and cheer back into the publics lives and the sector.

The good news, “and we could all really do with some good news”, is that trade is returning to pre Covid levels. Average drinks sales in the On Premise took another big step back to normality in August, with performance just -5% behind the same period in 2019, according to CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker. They also revealed that the sector was responsible for 40% of economic growth in the first two quarters of 2021.

Everybody loves a theme!

Halloween and Guy Fawkes nights are totally different requiring their own unique theme but both nights great for packing in the punters. Both very much social occasions, wonderful fun, for adults’ families and children and great ways to increase sales.

Due to obvious reasons, our figures are a little out of date, and we are unable to produce figures for Halloween and Guy Fawkes2020, however pre-Covid Halloween and Bonfire Night have proved to be lucrative sales opportunities with spirits in particular seeing strong growth.

Halloween 2019 saw spirit sales rise by 11% the previous year, and a survey by CGA revealed that, “Halloween spikes spirit sales by 57%, with vodka, liqueurs and speciality drinks being the most popular drinks for spook night”.

The research also revealed that Halloween is proving to be one of Britain’s most popular evenings, 21% of consumers left their homes for a ghostly evening out in 2018 and only Christmas eve and New Year’s Eve were more popular.

Halloween is also popular with the 18 to 24 age bracket, and of those going celebrating Halloween are likely to be female. “Our research reveals that the majority of participants have white-collar jobs and higher monthly spend on eating and drinking out, £125 compared to the average £107. These are consumers that enter the spirit of Halloween with cash in their pockets, so it’s a great opportunity particularly for pub and bar operators to get the atmosphere and offer right” said Rachel Weller, Director of Consumer Research and Marketing at CGA.

Halloween provides a perfect opportunity for the on-trade to develop the kind of experience-led nights out that consumers increasingly demand. Beyond drinks and food, themed evenings, games, immersive storytelling and virtual reality activities can all create USPs in this competitive market.

With four in five (84%) consumers on a night out now uploading photos to social media, the fancy dress aspect of Halloween is a great chance to get brand exposure too. That, though, can only be achieved if pubs, bars and drinks brands deliver the all-important ‘Instagrammability’—environments and activations that encourage drinkers to take and share their snaps.

It all adds up to a very lucrative opportunity for operators and drinks suppliers alike, but with such a narrow window of opportunity, the planning and executing of strategies havesto be sharp.

While bonfire night has always been a popular on trade event Halloween tended to be largely ignored at worst or given “lip service at best”.

When it came to Bonfire night last year, UK consumers spent £316m, up 2% from £310m in 2017, according to new research. Last year almost two in five (38%) Brits shelled out on products for Bonfire Night.

As fireworks take centre stage on Bonfire Night, they account for the largest share (50%) of spend, with Brits burning through £155 million worth of bangers, rockets and Catherine Wheels in 2019. Other major areas of spend include food/drink (valued at £62 million) and sweets/chocolates (valued at £39 million).

Overall, as many as three quarters (74%) of Brits say they enjoy attending public Bonfire Night events. But while Brits clearly love the thrill of the celebration, a cautious 46% of Bonfire Night purchasers say that safety concerns put them off hosting a Bonfire Night party, rising to half of women (49%), with people seeking a planned and organised event as a safer option. “As the smallest of the Autumn/Winter seasonal events, Bonfire Night presents a growing opportunity for the retail market. With continued uncertainty surrounding the UK economy, today’s consumers are happier to spend on experiences. Bonfire Night is enjoyed as an event, with many people going to a public Bonfire Night display. There is a definite opportunity for food & drink retailers to combine a Bonfire Night and food event, as, apart from fireworks, food is the main product purchased for the event.

These two events are less than a week apart, and in an age where analysts say that less people are making their visit to the pub, more time and effort spent in creating a unique themed evening one that cannot be replicated in the home will see revellers descend in large numbers, family, friends, work colleagues, there are many ways to create a unique celebration, an opportunity to stand out and attract custom.

Nicola Randall, Senior Marketing Manager, Brothers Drinks Co said: “Halloween is a key calendar moment for operators, and marks the beginning of winter festivities and social occasions as we head into the Christmas season. Halloween, as the second biggest drinking occasion behind New Year’s Eve, is a huge opportunity to drive sales, capitalise on the first major occasion since ‘Freedom Day’ and kickstart a successful festive trading period. “

“Halloween brings a real sense of occasion, with fancy dress a staple of the event and is extremely popular amongst younger demographics. A well curated drinks offer along with decorations and staff in fancy dress can help create a great atmosphere and immersive experience. Unique and interesting flavours are key in enticing younger demographics, and fruit ciders and the innovation seen in this segment are highly relevant to this audience.”

“42% cider drinkers express an interest in more unique flavours and this rises to 49% amongst women and 48% amongst 25-54s. Additionally, 58% of gen z and millennials typically choose unusual, new or trendy flavours and Brothers’ Toffee Apple Cider – a consumer favourite at Halloween – is perfectly placed to capitalise on consumer desires for something different this Halloween. A delicious blend of cream soda and smouldering toffee with a rich creamy finish, it’s a flavour that will ‘flood the senses’ with an unmistakeable sticky and sweet Toffee Apple everyone has enjoyed at Halloween and should be a key part of any operators’ range during the autumn and winter months.”


The Covid pandemic has ushered in a new era of socializing outdoors. Pubs, bars, and restaurants have heavily invested in alfresco facilities. Earlier this year the government extended scheme that allows bars and restaurants to set up tables and chairs outside on public highways by 12 months.

“There’s been quite a lot of investment in shelters, marquees, patio heaters and so on to make outdoors eating and drinking more appealing,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality.”

Halloween and bonfire night are both ideal for catering outdoors. Whether you’re holding a Halloween Fright Fest or a Fireworks Spectacular, tasty German products make the ideal choice for all, says Gorg Braese of the ”Sausageman”. We have has been supplying foodservice customers wholesale for over fifteen years in the UK. You can find The Sausage Man products being served at restaurants, major festivals and events, as well as at venues of all sizes across the UK, and these two busy events are ideal for barbecued sausages. When it comes to hearty foods roasted over an open flame, there is little—maybe even nothing—that can compete with the mighty sausage.

Whether speared with a shaved branch or sizzling in a skillet over a barbecue fire, they are the meaty symbol of campfire cookouts, and The Sausage Man is here to deliver a mouth-watering selection of the champions.

The Sausage Man imports sausage, beers and spirits – as well as plenty of other speciality foods – from suppliers all over Germany. With the widest possible selection, The Sausage Man delivers premium quality products directly to your door.

It’s all in the planning

Get the message out now, market yourself! Are you displaying posters? Menu cards? Have you devised the menu for food and drink? Have you organised any prizes for best costume? Are you organising fun activities such as ghost walks, a murder mystery or a horror show, or a Halloween and Guy Fawkes themed quiz night? Or have you lined up any other entertainment?

Have you put the events on your website? Are you taking advantage of social media? Great opportunities to get the message out. Can you tie the event up with a local cause? Raising funds for a charity, school, care home, we all love events with that feelgood factor of benefiting others.