Beacon encourages operators to prepare in order to prevent a ‘Dry’ January

Beacon, Britain’s leading purchasing company, recently discovered that 44% of Brits are now drinking less when going out than this time last year. Furthermore, according to CGA Strategy, January is the worst performing month in terms of on-trade sales, with two thirds of 377 licensees reporting their sales suffered as a result of Dry January in 2016 . – News from Beacon Purchasing

According to Beacon’s supplier, Molson Coors, January has become a difficult period for operators as a result of healthy lifestyle choices and the increased popularity of Dry January, with one in five consumers now taking part according to CGA Strategy . What’s more, insight from AB InBev has found that 21,000 drink-led venues have closed in the last 10 years, suggesting a changing landscape in the out-of-home drinking market.

With this changing environment in mind, Kelley Walker, Purchasing Manager at Beacon, considers the drinks market and shares her advice on how operators can uphold sales in a traditionally difficult month.

According to data from CGA Strategy, it was found that in January 2016 the share of all drinks sales taken by soft drinks was slightly higher than during the rest of the year . There is evidence more are opting for soft drinks at this time, and pubs and bars can capitalise if they make their non-alcoholic drinks offering more appealing.

One way to do this is through mocktails. An operator is able to give its customers many new exciting choices using ingredients that they already stock, such as syrups, juices and mixers. Customers expect a certain quality and experience from alcoholic cocktails, and this is the same for non-alcoholic alternatives. Operators should focus on high quality, innovative glassware, as well as simple, fresh garnishes and great quality ingredients.

“Health conscious options
Our research discovered that health reasons was one of the top influences for Brits not drinking alcohol out of home, so by offering healthy drink alternatives, operators can capitalise on this changing consumer behaviour. Molson Coors identifies that non-alcoholic drinks such as Bavaria resonate with health-conscious customers. Millennials in particular are keen to know the exact contents of their drinks, and find reassurance in the likes of Bavaria, which contain natural ingredients used in the brewing process and no additives.

“I would also advise that operators consider healthy menu choices to complement their healthy drinks options. Molson Coors suggests adapting menus to offer salads, grilled chicken and low-carb, low-fat options, which will be particularly popular during the Dry January period when consumers resolve to commit to healthier lifestyles.

“Try January
As an alternative to expanding your non-alcoholic offering, instead of focusing on Dry January, one of our suppliers Matthew Clark is supporting Try January. This involves flipping the concept on its head and encouraging consumers to try something different in January, rather than not drinking at all.

“What products are selected for this is entirely up to the operator, but it can be effective in a range of ways. Operators can encourage the use of more premium and unusual soft drink mixers, allowing them to up-sell products. Another option is offering a wine of the month, perhaps a product with a lesser-known grape variety. Staff can be utilised to promote these products, encouraging consumers to try something new, rather than avoid drinking completely.

“Overall, Dry January doesn’t have to mean a dry month for operators, as long as they prepare and consider alternatives. It can provide the opportunity for operators to trial different products and seek to maximise sales through different avenues and tactics.”

For more information about Beacon please visit or follow Beacon on Twitter @Beacon_YPP.

Research was conducted in September 2017 by 3GEM Research & Insights, with a respondent group of 2,000 people.


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