Licensees must improve the quality and selection of beer on offer in their pubs to survive in an increasingly competitive market, according to a new report.
The Market Update from brewing giant Interbrew UK concluded that beer sales in pubs had continued to fall, while consumers now demanded improved quality and choice when visiting a pub.
The report found that 60 per cent of drinkers would not order a brand again, and may not visit a particular pub again, if they were served a poor quality pint. It is recommended that licensees:
- improve beer quality from cellar to glass
offer a wider variety of beers, for example speciality beers like Hoegaarden
boost profits with promotions linked to food offers, as has already been seen with wines
capitalise on special occasions like Christmas with promotions and marketing initiatives.
With the continued fall in beer sales in the on-trade, Interbrew predicts that suppliers will become more specialised and will work with licensees to improve the quality of beer and the presentation to the customer - for example with the use of branded glassware.
Interbrew UK's marketing and sales director Stuart Gilliland told The Publican Newspaper the fall in sales could be attributed to strong competition from the Premium Packaged Spirits sector as well as poor weather.
He predicted the consolidation currently taking place among suppliers and retailers will continue as it becomes increasingly important to compete internationally as well as within the UK market.
The market update concluded: "This trend means that some suppliers will be able to focus on beer and will be able to drive the market through greater innovation and brand building initiatives."
Gilliland said as a result he would expect an increase in customer choice on the bar - as seen already in the lager market where niche brands like Hoegaarden have experienced a boom in popularity.
"If you go into a pub today, the lagers available on the bar are often very similar. There is a role for the major core brands but also for niche brands," he added.
Interbrew's report also found that the growth in the number of female drinkers has influenced changes in drinking patterns among men.
It concluded that men were now less likely to dismiss PPSs, traditionally viewed as "women's drinks" and found that female attitudes to drinking, with most women enjoying a much wider repertoire of drinks than men, had rubbed off on male drinkers.