The consumer trends set to define summer 2024

By Heineken UK

- Last updated on GMT

Consumer trends for pubs for summer 2024

Related tags Beer Cider

Serena Smith, head of category at Heineken UK, speaks to The Morning Advertiser on how pubs and bars can make the most of beer and cider sales this summer season

The summer months present one of the most important sales periods for pubs, bars and restaurants, and with a spectacular season of sport ahead of us, this year is shaping up to be a huge one.

Now is the ideal time to get your venue ready for summer, with 63% of people visiting the pub more during this key trading period[1]​, demonstrating the significance of this season. From new continental lagers to the rise in people opting for low- and no-alcohol beer and cider, we explore the biggest trends and how best to convert them into sales.  

Continental lager

2024 is shaping up to be the summer of continental lager. Within beer, continental lager has been the standout performer over the past 12 months, with this style of beer driving 11% growth in volume and 15% growth in value[2]​.

It is now the style that holds the biggest share in the beer category at 27%[3]​. This trend looks set to continue, with continental lager set to be one of the biggest selling styles this summer. This style of beer has also delivered 22% value growth over the past year[4]​, as drinkers look to recapture holiday experiences at home.

Given the significant demand among guests, adding a premium continental lager brand to the bar, such as Birra Moretti, is an excellent way to maximise this opportunity, over the summer and beyond.

It is a category of real focus for Heineken UK, which has looked to help operators tap into the trend and drive sales this summer by launching Birra Moretti Sale di Mare (4.8% ABV) into pubs, bars and restaurants, offering people an unfiltered premium lager with a hint of Italian sea salt.

Hitting the UK with a wave of excitement, Birra Moretti Sale di Mare brings something new and intriguing as an unfiltered lager made with a hint of sea salt. This creates a medium-bodied, intriguing flavour profile, while providing incredible refreshment.

Summer of sport

2024 is a massive year for sports in the UK – with three major finals and events being hosted in the UK this summer alone, including the Men’s UEFA Champions League final, Champion’s Cup and British Grand Prix. On top of that, there’s also the Women’s UCL final in Bilbao, the Euros in Germany, and the Summer Olympics in Paris. This provides venues with a huge opportunity to drive footfall and keep guests entertained for an extended period.

We know sport is a key footfall driver for pubs, with almost a quarter of all drinkers visiting to watch sport once a week[5]​, demonstrating that effectively advertising matches and games can be a great way to bring in new customers. Plus, insights show 75% of people watching sport tend to socialise in larger groups of people than the average pubgoer[6]​ ,anot her way that showing sport really helps to fill your pub.  

Once in venue, 89% of guests will revisit if they know other matches in the same competition are screened[7]​, and so clearly listing future matches is a great way to capture returning custom. Furthermore, 83% of people will watch live sport in a pub at least once a month[8]​, with nine in 10 guests staying out longer when a game is on[9]​.

As the number one beer associated with sport, stocking Heineken® and Heineken 0.0® can help build the profile of your venue as a place that takes sports seriously. This summer, Heineken UK will be giving away almost 30,000 pints through a two-for-one offer via the Eazle platform, during Champions League games, to enhance the match day experience for fans and drive even more guests into venue on match days.  

Catering to non-drinking occasions

Over the past couple of years, going to the pub has become much more than just a late-night occasion for adults, and has transformed into a space in which the whole family can socialise. This has resulted in an increased demand for low- and no-alcohol beer and cider.

Pubs have also significantly invested in their outdoor spaces, creating an atmosphere that welcomes families to hang out in during daytime in the summer. In fact, four in ten people consider a beer garden the main driver for visiting a pub in the summer[10]​. This has supported the increase in non-drinking occasions in UK pubs.

In fact, one in three adult pub visits are now alcohol free[11]​ and, combined with that increase in daytime and family visits to the pub during the summer, we can expect low- and no-alcohol to continue to be a real sales driver during the warmer months. This is a trend that was observed in 2023, with sales of low- and no-alcohol beer rising by 10% across retail, and pubs, bars, and restaurants, over the three months to July[12]​.

Insight indicates drinkers remain loyal to their preferred style of beer and cider when moderating their alcohol consumption, so offering a breadth of choice is important. Consider building your low- and no-alcohol range by style to ensure it spans lager, apple cider, flavoured cider, craft beer, ale, wine, and spirits.

Customers visiting a pub, bar or restaurant also typically remain format loyal when choosing a zero-alcohol drink when the option is there. For this reason, it’s worth considering listing draught, as well as bottles and can options, for high performing low- and no-alcohol products, such as Heineken 0.0®, to appeal to all drinker preferences.

Food and drink pairings

Food continues to be a key driver for certain pubs and bars, with 53% of people visiting a pub for a meal or other similar occasions[13]​. Therefore, drinks positioned as pairing well with ‘summertime foods’ are likely to perform well with this group of people.

Helping guests see the range of options available to accompany their meal is an opportunity to engage more drinkers with continental beer brands, along with some trusted favourites, across ‘with food’ occasions. We suggest beer is referenced on food menus, particularly when there is a great beer pairing or more premium option, such as a Cruzcampo® with a Spanish dish, or Birra Moretti with Italian cuisine. Birra Moretti Sale di Mare is particularly well suited to pair with food to enhance culinary flavours and presents a strong opportunity driving value for venues.

[1]​ Toluna Survey 2023[2]​ CGA OPME MAT Data to 02/12/2023[3]​ CGA OPMS MAT TY 27.01.24[4]​ CGA OPME MAT Data to 02/12/2023[5]​ Brandtrack October 2023[6]​ CGA PubTrack 2023[7]​ Sky Business & CGA Report – The value of live sport in British pubs and Bars[8]​ CGA OPUS 2023[9]​ CGA PubTrack 2023[10]​ Toluna Survey 2023[11]​ Kam, Low and No, the customer perspective, July 2023[12]​ Kantar Worldpanel, July 2023[13]​ KAM media research, March 2023, N=299 UK adults who consume beer at least once a month

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