Trends for Bars And Pubs – Five Things To Watch In 2021

Beer Piper’s Jeff Singer takes a look at how 2021 will look for landlords and bar owners

For the UK’s hospitality indus- try, 2020 was arguably the most challenging year for many a decade. As we ease cautiously into 2021, the sector is turning its sights to the trends and changes that will impact on business as the world slowly emerges from the COVID19 pandemic.

It is an unfortunate reality of COVID19 that many independent pubs, bars and restaurants have struggled in 2020, with a large percentage of them being forced to shut their doors permanently. For the surviving businesses, hospitality owners will no doubt be re-examining business procedures and services to ensure they are working as smartly and safely as possible.

As a partner to the UK’s On Trade, Beer Piper rode out the Corona-Coaster in 2020 by ensuring that its clients and customers were maintaining their beer lines, even throughout the lockdown and tiered closures.

“It’s been a tough year” says Commercial Manager, Jeff Singer. “But it’s imperative that, as an industry, we stick together and look forward with an increased sense of resilience.

“Restrictions will still be in place for much of the on-trade as we shift into 2021, so – for the surviving businesses – we need to focus on the positive and look at how we move forwards into the new chapter.

“Here are five things we expect to see in 2021 that will affect the hospitality industry.”

INCREASED FOCUS ON HYGIENE

“Customer confidence will be number one on the agenda for all hospitality owners and managers. Although many Brits will be keen to throw caution to the wind and enjoy the social aspects when outlets can reopen fully, many others will understandably be feeling very cautious after such a tumultuous year” says Jeff.

“We expect that there will be an increased focus on hygiene throughout bars and pubs, from front of house, behind the bar to the back room and cellar. We also expect many managers and owners to strive for the strictest hygiene levels so as to achieve the highest standard from awarding bodies.This is something that is demonstrable to customers, so it’s a good way to build and maintain confidence with punters as well as staff members.

“Regular cleaning schedules and higher levels of staff training are two things that managers and land- lords can do immediately to ensure standards are met.When it comes to beer lines, ensuring that these are cleaned on a regular basis is always the best approach.

“Unclean or poorly maintained beer lines can lead to low quality pints as well as a drop in customer confidence – something that nobody wants or needs at this critical time for the industry. Luckily, our systems ensure that lines can be cleaned to the highest standards with minimal effort from staff.They can even be controlled and schedules maintained using an easy to use app.

“We expect that there will be an increased focus on ensuring that the correct cleaning products are used for all areas – front of house – including tables, floors, visible surfaces, light switches and door handles, behind the bar which includes glassware, fridges, and all nozzles, connectors and sparklers, and the cellar which includes your beer lines, coolers and other equipment.

“Additionally, we also expect hand sanitisers to be part of the furniture after becoming such a fundamental part of life in 2020.”

SAVING MONEY WITHOUT CUTTING CORNERS

Jeff continues:“With the industry taking an absolute battering as a result of the pandemic, the outlets that have survived 2020 will be looking at ways to work smarter and save money – but without cutting any corners or lowering any standards in quality.

“This can be a tough ask, of course, but there are some ways that landlords can save money behind the scenes without losing staff members, closing the doors at quieter times or sourcing lower quality products.

“Looking to the cellar can help.Adding insulation to equipment, doors and cellar hatches can help to save money in the long run, and ensuring refrigeration equipment is working as efficiently as possible is also something else to consider. Making sure all equipment is maintained by professionals is also something that will save you money in the long term.

“Additionally, installing a high tech, automated beer line cleaning system instead of cleaning lines manually will save you a lot of money, a lot of time – and staff hours – and, more importantly for cost saving, can help to substantially reduce beer waste.

“One of the most distinctive features of Beer Piper’s market-leading wet wash beer line cleaning systems is the Dispense Line Beer function, which gives landlords and bar managers the option of saving much of the valuable beer that – until now – simply gets poured down the drain when doing manual line cleans.

“The actual savings to be made will naturally depend on the number of lines and the length of the beer line from cellar to bar. However, if you calculate how much beer you currently pull-off and throw away when cleaning your beer lines via the traditional manual method, Beer Piper systems save landlords and bar managers up to 75% of beer by selling it rather than throwing it down the drain.”

PREMIUMISATION OF DRINKS – THE PERFECT SERVE, EVERY TIME

“Premiumisation within the Beers,Wines and Spirits sector has continued in 2020, even with the majority of purchases coming via the off trade” says Jeff.

“Recent figures from Nielsen Scantrack and the CGA found that beer was the major winner of the first 2020 lockdown period, with value sales up £737m compared to the same period in 2019 to a total of £2.2bn in the 17 week period. Premium beers grew faster than standard beer – up £452m, compared to £164m.

“With more people drinking at home because of the on trade closures, we have seen a general shift to more premium choices. Additionally, a recent report by SIBA has found that value growth in craft beer is increasing due to consumers viewing it as a premium product. And, although smaller craft brewers are under pressure from the bigger national and international brewers jumping on the craft bandwagon, they are also seeking more direct access to market by acquiring and opening tap rooms and bars if they can.

“With this shift comes an increased spotlight on serve quality, so ensuring that all equipment behind the bar is well maintained and spotlessly clean is a good start to pulling the perfect pint every time – especially when customers are becoming more and more discerning when it comes to premium drinks.

“Independent and smaller craft brewers pour huge amounts of passion into their creations, so ensuring that beer lines are maintained and cleaned will guarantee a great pint for punters, time after time.”

CONTINUED FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY AND ECO PRACTICES

“Over recent years, we have seen an increased focus on conscious brands as consumers seek out sustainable and eco friendly firms to buy into. Younger consumers actively look for authentic, progressive brands with stories and ones which ensure their environmental impact is as low as possible.

“This shift in focus has led landlords and bar managers onto the same path – with many of them actively looking for demonstrable ways to lower their impact on the environment, whilst also catering for consumers who are vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, tee- total or gluten free.

“SIBA’s report also found that there has been a significant increase in the volume of no, low and gluten free beers that their members have been producing, and they expect this trend to grow exponentially over the coming years.

“Bar managers and landlords will undoubtedly be seeking out eco friendly cleaning products, as well as products that boast recycled and recyclable packaging.They will also be searching for ways to reduce waste.

“We expect that a more holistic approach to sustainability and eco practices will become the norm.

“As well as helping to reduce beer waste, Beer Piper systems always use powerful yet environmentally-friendly Chemisphere products, as well as utilising technology to help users stay efficient.”

EVENTS UP THEIR GAME

“One positive trend to look forward to is the rise of real life events,” continues Jeff.

“When pubs and bars are allowed to reopen properly, we expect to see an increase in events such as quiz nights, food evenings, talks, tastings, community events and midweek deals.We also expect that many venues will seek out local partnerships and collaborations to spark consumer interest and attract footfall.

“Creative events such as these will hopefully help to revitalise the industry and reunite people with their friends again, after a tough year. Although plat- forms such as Zoom and Teams have been incredible for maintaining social conversations, there’s nothing quite like a beer and a laugh with friends in real life!”