In the year to March some 4.3 million pints of beer were sold through off-trade outlets in the UK, some 700,000 more pints than were sold in the on-trade according to the beer brewing and pub retailing group there Marston’s which published its two annual Beer reports recently, one on the on-trade customer and the other on the off-trade customer.
The reports, based on feedback from over 4,000 drinkers across the UK, are intended to help pub managers and supermarket buyers looking to make the most of their drinks offerings. They provide insight into what customers want when choosing their ale and lager, industry trends and the performance of different types of beer.
Marston’s On-trade Beer Report 2019/20 states that, “Knowing the ABV, style and a single fact about the product will go a long way to engage with an ever more knowledgeable consumer eg 61 Deep, 3.8%, Pale Ale, named after the depth of the well at Marston’s brewery”.
The company also advised publicans to give consumers a reason to visit.
“This could be by specialising in one particular drink category and doing it very well, whether that be Craft Beer, Cask Ale, Gin etc. This will drive the more engaged consumer into your venue.“
Glassware is also extremely important to the perfect serve, with seven in 10 consumers highlighting it is of real importance to them when drinking in the pub, states the company, adding, “Glassware is particularly important to the following groups:
- younger consumers
- those on higher incomes
- those drinking in modern bars
- premium lager drinkers.
“Always serve drinks in branded glassware or the right shape for the category and ensure that glassware is clean and nucleated,” advises Marston’s.
The report also points out that No Alcohol Beers/Low Alcohol Beers have shown a 30% growth in the UK on-trade since 2016.
“Beer was one of the top performing categories in Grocery Multiples last year with value up +£258m” states Marston’s Off-trade Beer Report 2019/20, “an increase of +9% from the previous year and +19% compared to six years ago.”
The Off-trade report also points out that for craft beers, “There has been a distinct switch to Can being the biggest-selling pack format in the last year. Bottles are still popular with older shoppers”.
The report states, “With the rise of Craft beer over the past few years, there has been a shift in sales towards can (+405% Vs 2 years ago) over bottle (+84% Vs 2 years ago). Despite this the Marston’s drinker survey shows that consumer preference is leaning towards bottle”.
The report points to a 60% growth in No/Low Alcohol Beer in the off-trade since 2017 and a preference for imported beers where “61% of consumers would pay more for a lager if they knew it was imported into the UK”.
This figure rose to 69% among 18-34 year-olds.
This year’s reports show that Low and No Alcohol drink sales are on the rise in both the on- and off-trades as customers become more concerned about health and wellbeing.
“Both ale and lager drinkers see lower ABV beers as being better for them and a third find them more refreshing,” states Marston’s, “While the trend towards moderation is being led by 18 to 24 year-olds, it’s becoming more popular across the market, particularly with more affluent customers.”
The reports also show Ale drinkers to be the most experimental customers, more likely to try different beers.
Commenting on the findings, Louise Fleming, Head of Consumer Marketing at Marston’s, said, “Providing the correct range is key to increase sales and with more drinkers now wanting to be able to experiment, getting the balance between choice and quality is essential.
“It’s important to understand how lifestyle trends will affect the future of innovation in beer, bringing the customer into the heart of everything we do.”