Lee Graham speaks to key suppliers to find out how wholesalers can boost alcohol sales in the year ahead.
‘Little and often’ is the buzz phrase in convenience for 2015, according to Rosalind Nash, senior category development manager at Diageo GB, which counts Guinness, Baileys and Smirnoff among its brands.
“Convenience shopping continues to grow for time- and budget-pressured shoppers, so the opportunity is there for retailers and wholesalers to capitalise,” she says.
Diageo’s research shows that a whopping 93% of shopping trips in convenience are for ‘something for tonight’, as opposed to a routine shop or for an event. With this in mind, it’s vital to communicate to retailers visiting your depot the importance of keeping plenty of space in the chiller cabinet for alcohol products.
Saving time for off-trade customers and on-trade staff has been key to the success of Funkin, the maker of cocktail mixers and purees. CEO Andrew King says: “Our products allow pubs and bars to make cocktails in seconds. The category is equally important for consumers hosting parties at home. Funkin cocktail mixers take the guesswork out of making cocktails by simply adding ice and spirit to create drinks in no time.”
Sales of ‘ready-to-drinks’ (RTDs) have had a resurgence in both retail and the on-trade, particularly with price-conscious younger consumers. “Wholesalers can make the most of the trend by stocking a wide range of RTDs, such as VK and Hooper’s,” says Simon Green, marketing and export director at Global Brands. “These products have a wide market appeal, working well across retailers, foodservice operators and on-trade venues.”
Damian Clarke, Freixenet managing director, says that at the other end of the market, sparkling wine is the fastest-growing category in beer, wine and spirits and the only one growing by double figures.
“With 44% of adults drinking sparkling wine, the category is growing four times faster than the nearest category in the off- trade and six times the nearest in the on-trade,” he says. “Spanish sparkling wine has the second largest share by country of origin and represents 29% of the category. Wholesalers should therefore give cava plenty of space.”
Pernod Ricard UK also tells a Spanish success story, reporting impressive growth across its portfolio.
“Sales across our Campo Viejo range go from strength to strength as shoppers look for quality,” says the suppliers Chris Shead, off-trade channel director. “In terms of premium spirits, star performers in our Scotch whisky range include The Glenlivet, Chivas Regal and Aberlour, while Jameson Irish whiskey is also experiencing great growth. It’s a perfect example of how premium is growing the category.
“Martell VS is also doing well and we are looking forward to another successful year for the brand in 2015 as we celebrate its 300th anniversary.”
Capitalising on anniversaries such as this can pay dividends. Global Brands’ Simon Green says there are more opportunities for seasonal displays in the coming year.
“South American cuisine is the next big thing for food lovers and 2015 is the Year of Mexico in the UK,” he says. “To tie in with this, we have introduced Amigos Tequila Flavoured Beer in a new 660ml size, to go alongside the existing 330ml bottles and four-packs, Amigos Black 330ml and Amigos cans. These bottle and pack sizes give the brand across-the-board appeal.”