Pubs’ wine offers ‘off the mark’

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Trade failing consumers' wine expectations
Trade failing consumers' wine expectations

Related tags: Wine

Pubs are not hitting the mark when it comes to meeting consumers’ wine needs, but could easily boost sales by making simple changes to their offer, according to Crown Cellars’ first on-trade wine report.

One of the most concerning statistics to come from the report showed 41% of wet-led pubs didn’t have a wine list.

Top three red wines:

  1. Merlot
  2. Shiraz
  3. Cabernet Sauvignon

Consumers want to see more wine choice in pubs and better explanations of them, according to the Future of Wine in the On-Trade ​report, which was released by Carlsberg-owned Crown Cellars.

Within the report, which surveyed 1,000 wine drinkers and more than 500 on-trade outlets, there was a disparity between what pubs thought they were doing well and what consumers wanted.

For instance, just 27% of consumers asked by Crown Cellars said the on-trade offered a good range of wines, while operators were more optimistic, with almost half (44%) of those asked saying their ranges were varied enough.

More operators than consumers believed wine was being served well (42% v 24%) and the wine advice given by bar staff was falling way below consumer expectations, with just 14% of drinkers claiming they received enough help choosing wine, compared with 43% of operators who believed the advice they gave was helpful.

More choice demanded

Sara Allaway, category strategist at Carlsberg, said: “Consumers are demanding more choice, but they also need better help navigating the offer.”

Top three white wines:

  1. Chardonnay
  2. Pinot Grigio
  3. Sauvignon Blanc

However, to add more complexity, Millennials and over-30s wanted different types of information about wine, she added.

“Millennials want really clear and simple descriptions, while over-30s want more information because they understand more about the category and don’t want to be patronised.”

It was also important to ensure pubs hit the key needs of both Millennials – so as to gain new customers – as well as over-30s, to retain customers, if they were to build a healthy wine customer base, Allaway said.

Louise Boddington, wine buyer for Crown Cellars, explained that a simple wine list should contain no fewer than five red wines and five white wines. If pubs were pairing food with wine then they should consider adding more varieties.

Getting the menu right

Meanwhile, getting the wine menu right for customers was also an area of contention, with more operators believing they were doing a good job (31%) compared with 22% of customers.

Wine share in the on-trade:

  • White: 53%
  • Red: 37%
  • Rosé​: 10%
  • Sparkling wine sales up 58% on 2015

Glassware was also an issue and just 26% of customers thought the on-trade was doing a good enough job of serving wine in the appropriate glass.

Too few wines were being sold by the glass for customers (27%) compared with 48% of operators who thought they had hit the mark.

Of the newly released report, director of third-party brands Paul Waller said: “Wine in the on-trade has developed and evolved significantly in the past decade, but it is clear that there is still some way to go to catch up with the other drinks categories and with customer expectations.

“When you consider that 41% of wet-led pubs still don’t have a wine list, and 28% of pubs don’t think that wine training is important, there is still work to be done.”


% of customers who said yes

% of trade who said yes

Easy to find out what's available



Good range of prices



Nice glassware



Good mix of wines



Well displayed



Menu layout good



Menu description good



Good range of styles



Temperature right



Served well



Good range of grapes



Enough available by the glass



Country range good



Sound advice given



Related topics: Wine

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