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Stocking up for summer

The importance of summer for the on trade must not be under-estimated. This summer, in particular, is a gift to the on trade with sporting events such as Euro 2016 and the Brazil Olympics providing extra opportunities for increased footfall. By ensuring that your drinks offer reflects current trends, you will have happy customers who will want to return for more of the same

Category overview

Phil Montgomery, CGA Strategy – one of the world’s leading business intelligence and strategic consultancy providers for the out-of-home leisure market – takes a look at the Summer Drinks category and advises on the must-stocks for this time of year.

With choice at unprecedented levels, it can be difficult to know what to stock for summer. However there are a couple of weapons in a licensee’s arsenal that are ‘must stocks’ in order to ensure seasonal success.

Summer drinks with fresh fruitCocktails

Cocktails are continuing their meteoric rise in the GB on trade as this provision is now present in a quarter of all on trade outlets and grows sales by 15% vs. last year. This momentum is set to continue.

The importance of cocktails in a summer-time drinks offer is clear as 94% of consumers say they drink cocktails in the summer time with fruity and refreshing offerings gaining most traction. However, to maximise revenue from this offer, licensees need to provide a cocktail range that accommodates a multitude of summer-themed cocktail options.

While the tendency is to focus on mainstream staples such as Woo Woo and Mojito, the provision of premium cocktails may also be an option for some as, according to our research, 39% of cocktail drinkers are likely to purchase a premium cocktail in the future.

Sharing and spritz serves

Outside of cocktails, any summer range is of course going to utilise the traditional stalwarts of the summer season. Sharing serves such as pitchers will always have a place in pub gardens up and down the land.

The rise to prominence of the spritz serve is also becoming a bigger player at this time of year and may be a consideration for licensees in their range. Much of the success of spritz has been driven by the growth in the availability of the Fizz categories in the GB on trade.

Champagne and sparkling wineChampagne and sparkling wine

Champagne and sparkling wine have both seen resurgence in recent years, with sparkling wine in particular capturing the public’s imagination. The category is in 50% growth vs. last year and, like cocktails, is now stocked in a quarter of all outlets and rising. Sparkling Wine, popularised by its variants Prosecco and Cava, has tapped into a consumer sentiment for ‘affordable luxury’ and now is a ‘go to’ in the summer season.

With a price premium to the traditional still wine provision, as well as being a versatile ingredient in other serves, sparkling wine offers licensees a chance to drive margin as well as satisfying consumer demand for a great summer-time drinking experience.

Strawberries and LimeFruit cider

While world lager and ale have seen year-round growth in importance in the fridge, fruit cider comes into its own in the summer. The category itself is in 48% growth as the other flavours in cider (apple and pear) experience notable decline. One of the key drivers of cider’s success in summer is brands that continue to push the conventions around flavour, fitting into the summer season. From strawberry & lime to mango & passion fruit, there is a myriad of innovation in the space that licensees can incorporate into their range to gain traction with consumers.

Pimms different flavoursRinging the changes with Pimm’s

A true summer staple, Pimm’s (worth £40m in the on trade) was created by James Pimm in 1840 when he realised that customers at his establishment stayed longer when they sipped, rather than slugged, their gin. Today Mr Pimm’s original recipe is still going strong, however other flavours are now available, reflecting today’s increasingly demanding consumer.

Now available in the Pimm’s stable are the following:

  • Pimm’s Strawberry Cider Cup – Pimm’s No.1 spirit blended with crisp, refreshing British cider with a hint of the classic Pimm’s flavours of strawberry and cucumber
  • Pimm’s Summer Fruits Cider Cup – fruit cider with a Pimm’s twist
  • Pimm’s Plum and Red Apple Cider Cup
  • Pimms Mango Cider Cup.

Pimm’s Royale

A delicious, and extremely simple, version of the classic Kir Royale.

  1. Pour 50ml Pimm’s No.1 into a champagne flute.
  2. Slowly top up with champagne.
  3. Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon.


In a category that is seeing a slow decline overall, there are nevertheless a handful of major players whose brands tick the boxes and remain buoyant.

“The decline in the cider category is being led by apple, which is the largest sub-category, as well as pear,” comments Rob Salvesen, customer marketing manager, Kopparberg. “This is a trend across both the on and off trade and we expect this to continue as the apple and pear cider markets become more mature. Although the pear cider category is in decline, Kopparberg Pear is the number 1 selling pear cider variant within the pear cider category.

“The on trade fruit cider category, however, continues to deliver impressive gains in volume (+8%) as it continues to recruit younger consumers looking for a more refreshing, tasty product.”

David Scott, marketing director at Carlsberg UK agrees: “Fruit cider is now worth 492m to the on-trade, accounting for 26% of total cider sales and is experiencing exponential growth, up 30%.”

Heinekens Strongbow, Old Mout and Bullmers brands.Heineken dominates category

  • Heineken is the No.1 supplier of the cider and beer category in the UK with a portfolio of leading cider brands including Strongbow, Bulmers, Old Mout, Blind Pig and Symonds Founders Reserve
  • Heineken accounts for 41.3% total volume of UK Cider
  • Strongbow is the UK’s No.1 cider brand with on-trade value of £505m
  • Bulmers is the UK’s number one modern packaged cider brand
  • Heineken uses around 30% of all the apples grown in the UK for its ciders
  • In 2015, Heineken harvested and milled over 128,000 tonnes of apples at their mill in Ledbury, Herefordshire.

Magners CidersMagners fights back

Magners has recently introduced new packaging – backed by a multi-million pound media campaign – in a bid to shake up the apple cider category.

“Research is showing consumers are suffering from flavour fatigue in the cider market,” says Andy Cross, brand director at Magners. “With so much choice, but little resemblance to cider, consumers appear to be firing of flavoured ciders in the same way they did with alcopops. Apple still accounts for 76% of the cider category, but research has shown young adults find the category boring. We want to make apple cider exciting again by bringing a new attitude and tone of voice that will invigorate the category once more.”

To support the renewed focus on the apple segment, Magners will be focusing primarily on its Original apple variant. This will mean replacing Magners Golden Draught across the on trade with Magners Original draught to bring synergy across the family.

With the 2016 Summer Olympics tantalisingly close, it has been announced that Strongbow is an Official Partner of Team GB. Building on the feel-good factor from London 2012, Strongbow aims to unify the nation to support Team GB by launching a campaign with the theme: ‘Supporting the Supporters’. Cindy Tervoort, marketing director for brandowner Heineken comments: “We want to bring back the excitement we all felt during London 2012 and rally the nation to get behind Team GB. The pride and enthusiasm we experienced as a nation in 2012 was incredibly special, and we anticipate that our campaign will help the nation feel it once again.” Strongbow

Kopparberg fruit cider

Kopparberg’s latest innovation, Kopparberg Frozen Mixed Fruit Cider (ABV 4.0%), comes in a nifty metallic pouch. Simply freeze for eight hours, then squeeze into a glass. Other flavours are Strawberry & Lime and Elderflower & Lime

Responding to today’s millennial consumer (born between 1981 and 1997) who is constantly looking for new and interesting drink formats, Diageo has just brought out these two innovative Smirnoff Cider offerings.

Smirnoff CidersAvailable in Raspberry & Pomegranate and Passion & Lime, the cider also taps into the fact that millennials (especially those aged 25+) are looking for a ‘life less sweet’ and comparatively lower carbonated drinks.

“Fruit cider is particularly relevant to the millennial consumer,” said a spokesperson at Diageo GB. “Both of these new delicious fruit flavour combinations offer a crisp, refreshing taste and come in disruptive, modern bottles.”

Offering sweeter variants of traditional serves such as cider is big this year, with fruit variants accounting for the majority of growth in the cider market in 2015. Stella Artois Cidre has two new fruit variants (Peach and Elderflower), and is also launching Stella Artois Raspberry on Draught, alongside the 330ml can offer

 Stella fruit Ciders

Kopparberg fruit cider

New for the summer, with an ABV of 5%, is this refreshing offer from Kopparberg, marrying the brand’s signature fruit taste with a subtle, premium-lager bitterness. Serve ice cold from bottle

Looking ahead

“We predict that brands will continue to develop a wide and exciting selection of flavours and packaging formats, especially within the fruit cider sector,” says Ally Atha, senior brand manager, Stella Artois Cidre.


Champagne glassesIn recent years Prosecco has toppled Cava and, to a certain extent, Champagne as the fizz of choice both as an everyday drink and a must-have at celebrations. Essentially Catering caught up with Paul Ferguson, operations director, Proof Drinks Ltd (UK Distributors of Scavi & Ray Prosecco) and questioned him about the meteoric rise in popularity of this Italian drink.

EC: Just how popular is Prosecco?

PF: We have found the sudden rise in popularity of Prosecco in the UK astonishing, with figures showing that 240 million bottles of the popular sparkling wine were produced in 2013, an increase of 24% on the previous year. In contrast, we saw that in the same year Champagne sales dipped 1.5 per cent to 304 million bottles; this trend for both sparkling wines has continued throughout the last three years.

Figures show that Prosecco is now replacing Champagne in the popularity stakes when celebrating. For example, 63% of people select Prosecco for their wedding day, while Champagne is down to just 8%.

The sale and production of Prosecco has continued to grow with reports of a 72% increase between 2014-2015 and sales valued at more than £338.6 million.

Scavi and Ray ProseccoEC: Why is Prosecco so popular?

PF: Prosecco has become such a hit with consumers for many reasons. It has a light, fresh taste that is more appealing than most sparkling wines and this, along with its affordability, makes Prosecco a drink for all occasions, from weddings to a Sunday lunch, challenging the traditional choices of Champagne and white wine.

Prosecco is also more flexible than its competitors, lending itself perfectly to popular cocktails such as the Aperol Spritz as well as unique new SKUs such as Scavi & Ray’s delicious Hugo, which blends Prosecco, elderflower and mint to create the perfect summer cocktail.

EC: Prosecco shortage – true or false?

PF: Despite the fact that Italian sparkling wine imports to the UK experienced a 43% volume growth in 2013 alone and that last year’s wash-out in Italy caused grape yields to be down by as much as 30%, there is not going to be a Prosecco shortage in 2016. With the UK holding a huge influence on the Prosecco market and being the largest Prosecco market in the world, it makes us a priority and safe to say that there is no need to start stock-piling Prosecco just yet.

EC: Is glassware important?

PF: The right glassware for Prosecco is essential, it affects both the effervescence and in turn the flavour. There are three main glasses associated with sparkling wine: flute, the coupe and the tulip. Although many would reach for a flute for their Prosecco, the tulip may actually be the best choice. The wider glass helps to develop a more complex flavour. In addition, the wider aperture means the bubbles will end up hitting the right regions on your tongue rather than ending up in your nose.

Aperol SpritzAperol Spritz

Long-established in Italy as a favourite summer tipple, Aperol Spritz has also made its mark in the UK in recent years.

What you need

  • A bottle of chilled Prosecco
  • A bottle of Aperol
  • Soda, served from a syphon or chilled bottle
  • Tall balloon or wine glasses
  • Ice cubes
  • Slices of orange

How to make the perfect serve

  1. Fill the glasses generously with ice cubes
  2. Pour 3 parts of Prosecco (75ml) over the ice
  3. Then, pour 2 parts Aperol (50ml) into each glass in a circular movement
  4. Finish with a dash of soda (25ml)
  5. Garnish with a slice of orange.

Alcohol free


“With so much talk of moderation and abstinence around alcohol at the moment, any seasonal lines must include non-alcoholic alternatives,” advises Dan Harwood, brand activation manager for Eisberg alcohol free wine.

“Sales of alcohol free wine have seen an increase of 44% in value sales and brand leader Eisberg is leading the way with an increase of 79%. This has been founded on strong demand for our Chardonnay, which has doubled its sales in the past year. In addition, we listened to consumer demand to launch a Sauvignon Blanc variety. Our winemakers taste tested the product extensively pre-launch, to ensure the quality of the Sauvignon Blanc grape remains, even after the alcohol has been gently removed.”


“The low and alcohol-free beer category is growing by 5% in the UK on-trade with AB InBev’s Beck’s Blue the market leader, contributing to 58% of the category,” says Jessica Markowski, Head of Trade Marketing - North Europe, AB InBev.

“Millennials are key to this category growth, with over a fifth (21%) of those aged 18 to 34 choosing alcohol-free beer in January 2016, an increase of 10% on 2014. This supports a growing trend among millennials who are increasingly motivated by balanced and healthy lifestyles, with 41% of those aged 18 to 19 actively trying to moderate their drinking habits.”


Kopparberg has the only alcohol free fruit ciders in the market. Kopparberg Mixed Fruit (the best-selling packaged cider variant in the on trade), Strawberry & Lime (the second best-selling packaged cider variant in the on trade) and Pear come in alcohol free alternatives.

Juice glassesSoft drinks

“During the hot summer months, soft drink sales present operators with the opportunity to create a point of difference and maximise sales,” comments Ed Hartidge, marketing director at Hartridges Soft Drinks Company. “To do this successfully, operators need to keep up to date with the latest category trends – looking past the usual fridge suspects, and offering a selection of drinks that deliver on quality and taste.

“Soft drinks are being increasingly consumed by adults, who drink them on their merit, rather than as an alcoholic alternative. They place a great value on quality, choice, provenance and narrative, and have been helping drive growth in the category thanks to their considerable spending power.

“To tap into this lucrative market, operators need to offer customers a choice of innovative flavours that will entice them. The soft drink market is diverse, and customers have different lifestyle wants and needs that have to be catered for.”

Once you have the right selection of soft drinks, the focus should move to creating the perfect serve. “Great drinks are always served in clean, appropriate glassware with plenty of ice and a complementary garnish,” advises Ed. “Publicans can also improve soft drink sales by creating bespoke serves, such as mocktails.”

Strawberry softdrinkIced drinks

“As we approach summer, outlets traditionally associated with hot beverages need to be thinking ahead to ensure their offering includes cold and iced alternatives,” says Ali Goode, shopper marketing manager, Twinings Tea.

Currently estimated at £265 million, the latest Allegra report predicts that the iced beverage market will continue to grow by 14% over the next five years.

“The iced beverage market is already a signiticant sales driver, accounting for 3.3% of the total UK coffee shop market turnover,” continues Ali. “However, while iced beverages are currently seen by many as an indulgence, over a third of people are looking for lower-calorie beverages. This is a trend we’ve noticed particularly at Twinings – as consumers seek alternatives to sugary soft drinks, tea provides a ‘healthier’ option.”

According to Allegra, 63% have tried an iced beverage out of home, with the most popular months being May through to September. To capture this majority, Twinings has been looking for new serving solutions for its teas to extend out-of-home menus and offer innovation to operators looking to meet this consumer demand for healthier/low-calorie drinks.

Vist for advice and tasty iced tea recipes – spot on for the summer months.

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