Adding a draught beer line could ‘double’ your low & no sales

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Greene King Andrew Carpenter on how to double low & no sales

Related tags The Low & No Project LowNoProject low2no Greene king KAM

Adding a low or no alcohol draught beer line to your bar could see a pub double its low & no sales immediately, according to Greene King senior category manager Andrew Carpenter.

Carpenter made the statement while he was a guest on a panel hosted by KAM strategy & insights director Blake Gladman at the recent the 2024 Low and No: Drinking Differently​ report event in Angel, north London.

The panel of operators included Carpenter plus Soho House bar manager UK & Europe Cyril Francoise and Vagabond head of drinks buying Freddie Cobb.

Carpenter said: “It wasn’t that long ago when there was only a bit of alcohol-free was knocking around in a few fridges in our pubs.

“The journey for us is certainly focused on beer and the draught part of it. That’s very much the opportunity in a pub because that’s where the money is. It’s not an easy one to crack based on some of the other dilemmas around such as how you actually create the space because there’s so much competition for being on that front bar.

“If we can move forward in the right way and ensure we have a suitable draught version that would certainly continue this exercise and make sure we are fit for purpose in terms of what we go to market with and in terms of what we offer our customers. That’s really where my focus is going to be.

“I did a little bit of ‘fag packet’ calculation and, as it stands now, if you just put a single tap of beer on draught in the pub, you’re going to double your low & no sales straight away, based on that.”

1 in 3 on-trade visits not for alcohol

Some of the research unveiled in the report showed statistics that made the panellists take heed such as 44% of people customers surveyed would stay for longer at a hospitality site if their last drink was a low or no option.

Francoise added the fact that stood out to him was that one in three visits to the on-trade is not to drinks an alcoholic beverage.

Andrew Carpenter, Claude Francoise, Freddie Cobb and Blake Gladman
Andrew Carpenter, Claude Francoise, Freddie Cobb and Blake Gladman

Carpenter said: “Moderating is really much more mainstream than you think and we can’t avoid that – it’s fundamentally where customers are going.

“Having the experience rather than the alcohol is very much becoming what customers are looking for so adapting to that and making sure that you face that is really, really important because it’s the younger generation that’s leading that approach.

“The destination of choice is often linked to that moderating behaviour so having a credible moderation and low & no proposition is really important to how you actually set yourselves up because that’s the decision-making piece and that’s going to continue to be more important.

“It’s still really early days and there’s a long way to go. We’re still set up as businesses selling a lot of pints of alcoholic beer but where we’re going is very much leaning into this and recognising the low & no change and how that customer is moving really fast. We’re really trying to adapt so there is a credible alcohol-free offering.”

Credible products

He added there is certainly a gap in the market – as demonstrated by the report’s findings that tap water is taking away a potential of £800m in low & no sales – that needs to be treated with respect and deserves credible products that stand up really well.

Wine is a category that is perhaps not as quick in development terms.

Cobb of wine bar brand Vagabond explained: “Wine is notoriously slow and reactive. It’s not at the cutting edge of innovation.

“When I joined five years ago, there was nothing apart from Coca-Cola and lemonade and things like that but wine products have been hit or miss but was does work well for us is a sparkling tea.”

Meanwhile, Carpenter said: “I’m probably most familiar with beer. The most popular is Peroni 0.0 and then Heineken 0.0 and, strangely enough, they have rather large marketing budgets and they’re very big brands.

“We do have some smaller brands coming into the mix such as Lucky Saint. I cannot say just how many options there are in the beer category now but there are many and they are really great brands but you end up having to make some choices [in stocking].”

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