Cider is booming, wine and champagne sales are down, and the price of a pint of beer is set to soar by 30p a pint, due to Brexit and market pressures. The drinks market is as challenging as ever to navigate, meaning it can be difficult for bars to develop a successful menu. Beacon, Britain’s leading purchasing company, has utilised sales and market data, as well as insight from its leading drinks suppliers Heineken UK, Carlsberg UK, Matthew Clark and Chambord to identify top tips for bar managers planning for 2017.
Kelley Walker, Category Manager for Drinks at Beacon commented:
“By ensuring you’re aware of current trends, and the popularity of products in the marketplace, operators can enter the New Year with future-proofed drinks offerings that will appeal to consumer tastes. By working closely with our suppliers, we’ve developed advice for each key element of the bar offering to support businesses sales’ over the next 12 months.”
Craft and premium
Although craft beer still remains consistently popular, premium lagers are also a growth area. This market has been growing consistently throughout 2016 and Carlsberg UK data clearly shows that consumers are starting to trade up their lager choices, with premium lagers at 4% ABV seeing a 9% increase in volume from last year, which is predicted to grow further in 2017. Insight from Heineken UK predicts that the beer segment will continue to see volume decline but a more premium mix will enable value growth.
Gin is here to stay
Although vodka continues to dominate the market in terms of value and volume, gin is still seeing the biggest and most sustained growth, meaning it is an essential addition to any drinks menu in 2017.
According to a recent report from the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, gin is seeing positive growth in all areas: volume, value and price per litre. Alongside this, the trend for premiumisation within the gin market is evident, with the report showing that premium gin accounted for 22% of the overall gin market in 2015, a huge increase of 18% from the previous year, and this trend is only expected to continue.
Consider cider offering all year round
According to data from Carlsberg UK, cider has surpassed spirits as the strongest performer at the bar by volume, driven by fruit cider, highlighting strong consumer desire. Data from Heineken UK supports this, showing that the draught market is relatively consolidated, with Strongbow accounting for 40% of all their volume, but this shows there is big opportunity in the packaged market due to it being more fragmented.
Therefore, looking into 2017, operators should concentrate on their cider offering all year round, not just for the summer months. Furthermore, premium ciders have shown a 4% increase in sales, so businesses should aim to develop a core cider range at a variety of price points – both draught and packaged.
Adding more sparkle to the wine menu
Matthew Clark, one of Beacon’s expert suppliers, has identified that both wine and champagne sales are in decline; however, sparkling wine is seeing mass growth in sales of up to 38%. Furthermore, Chambord’s sales data supports these findings, showing that currently 80 million glasses of sparkling wine are sold each year in the UK. This is as a result of Prosecco carving a path for the category, making sparkling wine an everyday drink for many consumers. So, in 2017 expand your sparkling wine offering considering alternatives to Prosecco and champagne, including Cava and increasingly popular semi-sparkling Italian wine, Frizzante.