By Jean-David Thumelaire, On-Trade Sales Director at Budweiser Brewing Group (www.budweiserbrewinggroup.co.uk)
With Brits pouring back into pubs post-pandemic, we could be forgiven for thinking that things might just be starting to return to normal in the On-Trade.Yet we mustn’t overlook the fact that Covid-19, and the periods we spent in lockdown, have had a huge impact on consumer drinking habits – many of which we expect to turn into long-term behavioural changes. Here’s my top tips to help publicans adapt their strategies to keep pace in 2022.
PRIORITISE PREMIUM LINES
Premiumisation is a long-standing and well-established trend which has only accelerated during the pandemic as pub-goers seek out known and trusted brands. For the first time ever, the premium and superpremium category is the biggest in absolute volume, making up 40% of total beer consumption in the On- Trade compared to core lager (31%) and ale and stout (27%).
Pubs must consider altering their line-up to cater for the growing number of consumers who wish to trade up. It’s clear that the traditional offering of two core lagers, four premium beers, three ales, one stout and two cider options needs updating. For 2022, we’re recommending pubs and bars dial up their premium draft options, offering one core lager, six premium lagers, two ales, one stout and two cider options.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Food is now the biggest occasion for beer consumption, with three out of five beers consumed with food across both the On and Off-Trade. And it will become increasingly important for pubs post-Covid, as consumers look to enjoy the premium dining experiences in pubs that they missed during lockdowns.
Smart promotion of beer and food pairings in pubs will also help drive revenue. Our most popular beer, Stella Artois, is now enjoyed by consumers more often with food than as a standalone drink and experiences a 44% uplift in sales when paired with bites across the full trade.
The Euros last summer was huge for the On-Trade, with estimations that pubs across England would sell 13 million pints on the day of the final alone. TV sporting occasions in general are massive sales drivers. Sports fans spend 90 minutes longer in the pub than the average customer, boosting the rate of sale by 10%. The FIFA 2022 World Cup next year is therefore another huge opportunity for pubs.
Stocking tournament sponsor brands is a smart way for pubs to drive revenue – 55% of beer drinkers have said they would choose a brand if they knew it was the official beer sponsor of England. As the official sponsor of the England team, the Budweiser Family experienced a 29% ROS uplift across the full trade during the Euros last summer. And we have big plans to help our customer pubs make the most of our sponsorship dur- ing the FIFA World Cup in 2022, watch this space!
MODERATION IS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST DRY JANUARY
January, while traditionally a slower time for pubs, is a great opportunity to bring new consumers through the door by offering an exciting range of no-and-low alcohol drinks.
Yet the opportunity around no and low alcohol products extends beyond January. Moderation has become a lifestyle choice for many, and this plays out in the drink they’re choosing. One in 10 beer drinkers now regularly opts for an alcohol-free alternative. This has contributed to the no-and-low category growing to a worth of £101.6m, increasing by 58% since 2019. While a relatively small driver of revenue for pubs, stocking and promoting a strong no-and-low offering all year round can punch above its weight in terms of driving customer loyalty.