Pricing and promotions

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Promotions, especially for beer, can be a vital way to encourage new customers into your outlet.Understanding brand promotions and when to use them...

Promotions, especially for beer, can be a vital way to encourage new customers into your outlet.

Understanding brand promotions and when to use them is vital to encourage new visitors to your pub, and will excite your regulars. Also by creating a clear strategy on setting retail prices for your promotions, you will have a perfect structure to maximise sales and increase your profits.

This feature will explore retail strategy, and how you can develop promotions within your business, and examine some simple guidelines for helping you to establish your optimal beer pricing.

Beer is an important brand category in most pubs, and still accounts for over 60 per cent in value of all drinks sold. A business plan that focuses on promotional activity can have several benefits:

  • Focusing behind a "big event" like the World Cup or football on a Monday night can help drive "traffic" into your business.
  • Targeting activity in the garden, such as barbecues at the weekend can help recruit new customers to your business, such as families.
  • Encouraging consumers to drink more, or spend more each time they come to your pub helps to drive "transaction" value.
  • A well run promotion; that is fully supported by your barstaff team can build fun and excitement in your business, generating the atmosphere that will make consumers return more often.
  • Promoting the right brands can make you more profit. Premiumisation is one example where encouraging consumer's to trade up to more profitable brands, generates you more profit.

Promotional planning

Coors Brewers recommends that you plan your promotional calendar on an annual basis.

Firstly, assess how your business is currently performing, (what parts are doing well, and where could you do better), what type of consumers do you attract to your business, and who would you like to target.

Which big events are you going to get behind, and which categories, ie beer or brands such as Grolsch, are you going to promote. The traditional big events in the UK include Christmas, Easter, St Patrick's Day, Mother's Day and Hallowe'en. They could also include local events within your community, ie Cowes Week on the Isle of White.

  • Plan well in advance, advertise the promotion you are featuring, and ensure your bar staff team are well briefed.
  • Merchandise the hotspots in your bar to reflect the promotional activity.
  • Ensure that you keep the retail offer simple and easy to understand.

Promotional tactics

Beer as a brand category provides many opportunities for promotional activity. The challenge is to determine exactly what you want to achieve, and how that will help you develop your overall sales. There is no benefit in simply switching between different brands.

So what promotional activity should I consider?

  • Big events, ie World Cup.​ Create excitement around your pub, promote brands that have a consumer relevance with football and ensure you stock up on enough products. The Carling "The Game's On" merchandise is intended to create real excitement around the event. And complement the consumers' needs for a "sessionable" drinking occasion.
  • Linking food and beer.​ For many consumers the reason for a pub visit is to have a meal, this can be encouraged with greater frequency through meal deals such as a "curry and lager" night or a barbecue in the summer.
  • Select your own "beer of the month" or stage your own beer festival.​ Providing greater choice to your consumers, and potentially a great deal of fun.
  • Premiumisation of products.​ Promote those brands that make you more profit. Encourage your barstaff thought incentives on who can sell the most.
  • Upsizing your offer.​ Instead of simply selling a pint of beer why not consider offering a consumer benefit if they purchase a two-pint or four-pint pitcher.
  • "Happy hours"​ can you encourage greater footfall into your pub in quiet periods though carefully targeted promotions.
  • New products offer.​ Consumers love new brands, but often need confidence to try them. "Try before you buy" mechanics or two for one deals help sampling, and can create consumer desire for brands.
  • Price promotions​ drive a particular brand by encouraging consumers to purchase more specifically for larger group's, ie six bottles for the price of five.
  • Perfect serve.​ Research has shown that consumers will pay more for a perfect pint of beer dispensed in a chilled "branded glass" and it reflects well on the image of your business.


Establishing the correct retail selling price (RSP) for your brands is vital if you want to optimise the profitability of your business. Set your prices too low, and you could be missing out on profit, set them too high and you could be alienating your consumers.

Benchmarking your business, against your competition is one of the ways of establishing a starting point for the type of business that you have within your local area.

Determine the gross profit (GP) that you want to make, or need to make, can be done with your accountant, or through professional business advice from your Coors Brewers account manager. There are also useful toolkits, such as the GP calculator on the hospitality industry's leading on-line business support service, barbox, which helps determine the correct GP.

Increasingly retailers are becoming more competitive and use price promotional activity to drive customers into their business. JD Wetherspoon's use the pricing mechanic to re-enforce its "value benefit" statement about their business.

A focus on promotional activity and pricing is key to maximising the profit from your business, and providing your consumers with a variety of exciting activity which will have them returning more often and spending more of their money in your pub.

The Game's On!

The Carling "The Game's On" merchandise is intended to create real excitement around the event.

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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