Tips for trade

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Related tags: Summer, Extra cold, Public house, Everards

Funny old lot, the British. At the first sight of a ray of sunshine, a hint of blue sky or an ice-cream van there is a national stripathon. Off come...

Funny old lot, the British. At the first sight of a ray of sunshine, a hint of blue sky or an ice-cream van there is a national stripathon. Off come the winter clothes, out comes the pasty white skin and everyone marches to the nearest beer garden.

Whether it's the sound of ice clinking against a glass, a chilled pint after a long day at work or a pitcher of Pimms between friends at the weekend, summer conjures images of relaxed drinking - and the public love it.

So how do you ensure you make the most of such a potentially lucrative time of year? As the sun whips customers up into an excited frenzy, summer is the perfect time to cash in on the upbeat mood and maximise profits. Longer, lighter days, balmy evenings and happy, sun-soaked punters should make for a successful season - as long as the drinks are up to scratch.

Think pink!

When it comes to reeling in the customers and the cash, think pink. Rosé sales have rocketed since last year according to AC Nielsen and are up by a staggering 43.6 per cent. Compared to red wine, which is down six per cent and white, down four per cent, the statistics speak for themselves. Jason Danciger, director for sales and marketing, catering and logistics at Laurel Pub Company, urges licensees to jump on the rosé bandwagon.

"It is now a massive category in the summer drinks market," he says. But he warns that although the pink stuff may be popular, it won't fly off the shelves by itself. "You have to make people aware of what you've got," he says. "Visibility is key - big ice buckets on the tables, blackboards, signs spelling out what's on offer."

Jason also recommends having more than one rosé on the menu at your pub - at least one affordable one and a more expensive bottle so people can trade up if they want. Drinks wholesaler WaverleyTBS senior wine buyer, Pierpaolo Petrassi, says if licensees do not have a couple of rosés on their wine list then they will be missing out this summer. He also advises publicans to make the most of this particular wine's unique selling point.

"Psychologically, rosé is a lovely summer colour," he says. "It has always been very successful from that point of view." Pierpaolo adds that food matching is a great marketing tool. "Rosé sits well alongside 'summery' foods like salads and fish," he says. "If you're stocking it, don't just plonk it on the bar - suggest it as an accompaniment to a crayfish salad or an oriental dish. Give people a particular reason for choosing and consuming it."

Old classics

The problem with the staple summer drinks, Pimm's, gin and tonic and Malibu, for example, is that they have become so popular punters can get them anywhere.

So, it is important that you lure customers into your pub. Gary Singleton, category development manager at drinks giant Diageo, recommends the two "Bs".

"Barbecues and beer gardens will really capture some interest and pull in the punters," he says. "Make sure you advertise events such as a barbecue in advance. Pimm's and spirit-based cocktails go brilliantly with barbecue food."

Gary also advises licensees to serve summer drinks in pitchers as groups spend more money than singles and couples.

"Lure in groups with pitchers. It's a great way for pub-goers to share a drink in the beer garden, relax and enjoy the experience." With a drink as iconic as Pimm's, visuals are everything. Double bank it and make sure you have a branded Optic. Putting a bowl of freshly cut fruit on the bar near the product will also draw attention to it and spark interest in punters, particularly female drinkers.Summer beers and ciders

Most mainstream lagers are now available extra cold, a bar-top addition customers have responded well to. For example Leicester brewer Everards says the introduction of Foster's Superchilled across its estate saw a three per cent rise in total beer sales. So this is a phenomenon well worth cashing in on, particularly in the warmer summer months.

As well as the big players: Foster's, Carling, Carlsberg, Guinness and Kronenbourg to name a few, cask ales are catching on to the extra cold trend. Everards has taken its golden beer, Sunchaser, to a frostier level and have launched Sunchaser Extra Cold. Sales of Sunchaser are up 68 per cent on last year and introducing an extra cold version in the bar just in time for the summer could be a great way to maximise profits.

David Bremner, marketing director at Everards, said: "After running some tests, the results showed that 70 per cent of customers preferred the product Extra Cold to Classic. It was close to 100 per cent for female drinkers who do not normally drink cask ale."

But while extra cold may be the icing on the cake, there is a great case for stocking golden ales this summer - super chilled or not. Fuller's Discovery is a popular choice with customers and has remained so all year round, not just during the summer months.

David Spencer, Fuller's brands marketing manager, thinks licensees will have no trouble marketing the beer. "Discovery will be supported by in-pub promotions, high-level advertising during May and sampling activity throughout the summer," says David. "Pubs can take advantage of these promotions to really drive sales."

Other golden ales worth considering are Hooky Gold, Hook Norton's brand new ale for May and June, and Arkell's Summer Ale. Everards will also be cashing in on the summer's biggest sporting event and is introducing Svengal Tiger to coincide with the World Cup. The premium ale will be available from May 18 and the World Cup will, of course, be the perfect marketing tool.

If you want to go even paler there is an array of blonde beers to choose from. Popular brands such as Kronenbourg Blanc, Paulaner and Erdinger are all good additions to any bar. Then there is Hoegaarden, the market leader. A recognisable product and well-known, branded glassware will really help to sell this beer as customers will often go for a name they know and trust.

Steve Kitching, managing director of on-trade sales at InBev UK, says: "There is a real opportunity for outlets stocking a speciality beer such as Hoegaarden in the summer months. As the number one white beer in the country, it is well known by pub-goers who appreciate its unique product characteristics."

Continuing the extra cold theme, innovative ideas such as cider over ice has seen this drink rise in popularity. Up 11 per cent from last year, cider is back. The explosion of Magners onto the drinks scene, an Irish cider that is served over ice, has been totally unexpected. A year ago the product was virtually unheard of outside of Scotland but is now predicted to be a major player in the summer drinks market.

Geoff Bradman, managing director at drinks firm Hamana Drinks, says: "Magners has added great interest and investment into the category - it has put theatre back into cider. The category has been neglected for so long that, in a sense Magners has brought it back to life." If the predictions are right then licensees would be mad to dismiss cider this summer. So get your Strongbow, Thatchers Gold, Westons Stowford Press and Scrumpy Jack now.

Make the softs sell

Family pubs will be welcoming an influx of children during the school holidays and warmer days will mean people are more dehydrated and therefore more likely to be interested in an extensive range of waters and juices. It is also worth remembering that if adults bring their children to the pub then they are more likely to choose a soft drink themselves.

As for the kids, brightly packaged fruit juices will always be a hit. Britvic's Robinsons Fruit Shoot is a particularly child-friendly product. Because of the sports cap tops youngsters can run around without much danger of spilling it.

Britvic suggests that to maximise sales licensees should push soft drinks when people are eating, use point-of-sale - particularly at lunchtime when less people are like

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