Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) senior category manager Jamie Shipperly gave his top tips on how pubs can attract customers with the right soft drinks behind the bar.
He said: “Soft drinks are worth more than £14bn as a category and it will continue to grow because they are relevant across all day parts.
“People want something special. There are times when they don’t want mainstream and we need to ensure the [soft drinks] range delivers for that.”
However, it is important to note that cola accounts for 43% of value sales in the on-trade and offering a choice of original and zero sugar options of core softs all forms part of the perfect offering.
Light and refreshing
While food is important in pubs, the accompanying drink is also crucial to a great experience, Shipperly said.
He explained: “When people are drinking soft drinks, it stands to reason, when people are eating, they want something refreshing that cleanses the palate and goes well with food.
“We need to ensure soft drinks are reflective in creating that going out thing, like with alcohol. Customers don’t always want a fizzy drink, they want something light and refreshing that goes with food.
“When that isn’t there, people go for water, which doesn’t deliver as much of a margin. We want to make sure people are reaching for their wallets and not the tap.
“When guests are looking for an alternative to mainstream, adult premium soft drinks and mixers like flavoured tonic and ginger beer can offer great tasting alternatives.”
Spirits and mixers
But soft drinks aren’t just consumed on their own. The spirit and mixer category also demands great soft options too.
Shipperly explained: “Some 17% of consumers cited the reason why they don’t consider buying a spirit and mixer when visiting a pub is because it is often served is poor.
“One fifth (20%) of customers said if pubs and bars had a better quality of soft mixers, it would encourage them to visit those venues.”
“Tonic is not just about gin or vodka,” he added. "Flavoured tonics can enhance many spirits such as Rum, Tequila, Vermouth. Expanding guests’ repertoire and getting them trying different mixed drinks will drive a better on-trade experience.”