Christmas is always a crucial trading period for pubs and bars and with so much uncertainty around lockdowns, reopening, and Covid restrictions, it has never been more important for outlets to ensure their offering, ambiance and price point are all spot on.
The three key focus points are choice, service and spend per head – operators want to ensure customers enjoy their time in bars and pubs without feeling rushed, choose a drink they love, at a price they are happy to pay.
The time people have to spend in bars is so much more precious in 2020 and making customers feel safe while trying to ensure they are relaxed in the current climate is particularly challenging.
Outlets can look at this time as an opportunity to gain and build customer loyalty and this is where premiumisation can really add value. With limited time customers want to treat themselves and will pay more for good quality food and drink. With the time constraints placed on trading periods operators want to ensure they are increasing the spend per head at every opportunity and those that aim to upsell will benefit. Ensuring customers have the best time including great drinks, will pay itself forwards in the coming year, and ensure return custom to places where they have had a great experience.
Simple serves with great quality spirits will allow for a speedy service alongside customer enjoyment of indulgent drinks. Flavours that bring comfort and are reminiscent of great times are set to be favourites at the bar.
Consider offering hot serves that fill the room with ‘Christmassy’ smells and flavours like hot buttered gin or rum and spiced cider.
Langley’s Old Tom (47% abv) is a must stock over Christmas, a gin which is soft, warming with a touch of sweetness – key requirements in festive drinks. The botanical complexity also lends itself to the season. On the nose, caramelised citrus peels and an almost oaky spice. To taste, sugar latches onto the tongue instantly, but is joined by a big bushy pine green vibe and then pushed away by those warming spices.
Whisky / Whiskey drams come into their own over the winter months, as colder weather means a warming spirit is in order. There are also celebratory moments, after dinner digestifs and fine dining occasions where whisky is a natural choice. Stock up on some key premium whiskies to tap into these occasions and to impress punters with a special selection.
Diablesse Clementine Spiced Rum (40% abv) is always a winner at Christmas as it evokes the scents and flavours of the season. Made from single origin Demerara rum from the Diamond Distillery in Guyana, this rum uses locally produced sugar cane molasses and traditional pot and column distillation methods dating back hundreds of years. It’s naturally flavoured with clementine and has a warm Caribbean-inspired mix of vanilla pod, ginger, cinnamon and clove.
‘Do it for the Gram’ – making a drink look photo ready is a great way to appeal to customers – our love for social media is widespread across most demographics and this will bring a return when drinks are delivered well with quality. Make sure to post photos of stylish drinks, cocktails and bottle shots on your social media channels to remind people of your offering and to encourage people to venture out with their household for a festive tipple.
Consumers are increasingly more ethically minded and looking for brands that strive for positive change in some way, be it supporting sustainable producers, profiling the overlooked or marginalised, or supporting brands that place provenance, heritage or family at the heart of what they do. Highlighting these factors will guide consumers in their purchasing and give them extra reasons to buy into the serve. This is even more important at Christmas as consumers are likely to experiment, trade up, and treat themselves, especially if there is a sustainability and ethical element to do so.
The Salford Rum Company is a brand that celebrates the history, heritage and people of the Salford Docks during the 1800s and 1900s – and the industrial imports during this time were rums, fruits and spices from the Caribbean. Salford Original Spiced Rum (40% abv) delivers a blend of warm spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger, combined with sweet vanilla notes, maple, orange and steeped fruits – evocative of the Christmas season. In addition, the company has introduced screen-printing on its ceramic bottles to reduce plastic waste and is working hard to make production and distribution of its bottles more eco-friendly.
In summary, the calendar is kind this year as Christmas Day falls on a Friday, meaning there are weekend days to attract custom. We still don’t know what Christmas 2020 will look like but spirits are always a popular choice over the festive season so ensure your back bar is well stocked to get you through to 2021.
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