A grape opportunity: wine in pubs

By PMA reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Wine Alcoholic beverage Pub people

Wine: unfulfilled opportunity in pubs
Wine: unfulfilled opportunity in pubs
Pubs lose out on 60% of potential wine sales, so we've joined forces with WaverleyTBS wine experts to help you grab some of those lost sales.

Pubs lose out on 60% of potential wine sales, so we've joined forces with the wine experts at WaverleyTBS to help you grab some of those lost sales. In the first in a series of features, we take a look at what groups of drinkers want from a wine offer in pubs.

Eight out of 10 drinkers buy wine in supermarkets, but only two out of 10 drinkers buy wine in pubs. For today's drinkers, wine is very much part of their everyday lives and not just saved for special occasions, so why are pubs missing out on 60% of their potential wine sales and a highly profitable drinks category?

The sociable get-together

In our first feature, we will look at one of the six main occasions that customers drink wine: the sociable get-together. This is your opportunity to sell wine, which is one of the most profitable drinks categories (only spirit plus mixer drinks command more margin).

WaverleyTBS has worked closely with pubco Pub People to help develop a passion for wine among its staff and so deliver real benefits to the business.

Pub People operations director Andrew Crawford knows about setting up pubs' wine offerings for get-togethers because wine is a category close to his heart. He says: "Supermarkets have become great ambassadors for wine and customers' expectations have become much higher as a result. However, wine drinkers in pubs don't want cheap, they want quality and fairness."

Having carried out a review with WaverleyTBS a year ago, Pub People has created a "shopping basket" of around 30 wines for its 50-plus pub estate.

The operations team tasted and selected the wines, choosing a range of entry-level, mid-range, premium-pour and prestige wines. Thorough briefings with managers, training sessions, merchandising and wine lists followed and, so far, where the new menus have been implemented, sales are averaging 7% growth.

Make wine the focal point

At one of Pub People's pubs in Nottingham, the Lord Nelson, wine has become central to customers' get-togethers. Jo Winfield describes the pub she runs with her husband, John, as an oasis in a desert of chimney pots. Working with the new range of wines in the Pub People portfolio, Jo trained her barstaff, making sure they tasted all the

wines and felt confident to talk about them to customers.

She made sure the compact back-bar area gave over some merchandising space to wine and that wine lists were present on all the tables in the pub. When she introduced the new range, Jo ran a wine tasting for all her customers so they could become acquainted with the range and quality of the wines.

It's not surprising that the new wine range has had a huge impact on overall sales. More women drink in the pub now and Jo finds that men will often switch from beer to wine later in the evening.

Jo explained: "People who enjoy a great-quality cask beer love wine too. It's as simple as that. If you're a wet-led pub don't get caught in the trap of thinking that people won't drink wine. I can tell you this — they are drinking it at home. Why would you want to miss out on the extra sales, profits and traffic into your pub?

"If a small back-street pub can sell a range of eight wines by the glass and two sparkling wines, anyone can. All it takes is the passion and determination that pubs have put for so long into beer."

Sociable occasions

1. Is wine visible?​ — Walk into your own bar and see when your wine range becomes visible. Is it when you walk in and you see tent cards or lists on the tables and chalkboards on the walls? Can you see a display of bottles and PoS materials behind the bar? Are bottles chilling on the bar? If you have to lean over the bar to look or ask the barstaff about the choice, you're not giving your wines a fighting chance.

2. Range​ — Catering for groups of friends means that you need your must-stock varietals; Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for the whites and Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for the reds. Don't forget a couple of rosé styles and a sparkling option for celebrations.

3. Getting the size right​ —

Offering a variety of sizes gives the drinker more reasons to choose wine. Bottles are perfect for sharing, and you can make this option more attractive through your pricing structure, but different serve sizes also improve choice and flexibility for a mixed group of tastes, so don't skimp on your wine-by-the-glass options.

4. Promotions​ — Keep wine at the forefront of customers' minds by promoting it. Whether it's a try-before-you-buy option, a wine of the month offer or a price deal on sharing a bottle, you can encourage customers to taste wines and experiment with new varietals and styles of wine via your list. A little staff training also goes a long way in promoting wine.

5. Nibbles​ — More and more pubs are offering sharing platters or nibbles and this style of pub tapas or 'grazing' suits the get-together crowd really well. Link a wine offer with a sharing platter and see the interest in your wine offer grow.

Related topics Training

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