For many pubs December is probably the busiest month of the year, taking in the Christmas and New Year festivities. Whilst wine sales may be better than usual due to the increased footfall, pubs need to adopt a strategy to maximise sales and the following ten step plan could help you. By keying into your customers’ desire to celebrate and their natural inclination to spend more at this time of year you can, with a little effort, increase your wine sales.
- Make sure your wine list is FOCUSSED, SEASONAL and PROFITABLE. You need to rationalise your wine list to fit the festive theme. I would suggest picking ‘spicy’, warming reds (tempranillo, Cote du Rhone) sparkling (prosecco, cava) and white wines (grüner veltliner, good dry reislings). Take low volume and low profit wines off sale and reintroduce them as ‘Bin Ends’ in a January ‘sale’.
- Ask your wine supplier for a low cost red that’s going to make your MULLED WINE as profitable as possible, click here for 16 mulled wine recipes .
- By getting rid of low selling, low profit lines, you can introduce a TRADE UP on a selected ‘Wine by the Glass’ list that offer every grape and style you carry having an even better and more expensive option for the customer to choose. Remember people love to trade up at this time of the year as in indulgence purchase.
- PROMOTE your Christmas Wine Specials everywhere, especially on ‘party packs’ sent to all bookings, vivid ‘table talkers’, framed pictures in the toilets (especially the women’s loos) and with party pre-order inducements, for instance, “book now and receive x bottles of wine for your party.”
- Offer a TAKE AWAY wine list, available at all times, but be on the look out for those end of the night sales opportunities. Offer ‘Christmas Sixes’ in a carrier case (you can find some here), offer free tastings and carry the boxes to their cars/taxis. Of course, you’ll have to discount the price from your normal bar price and take account of the multi-buy, to compete with the off-trade. However, at 12 o’clock at night when customers are off to a party and the local off-licence is shut, it needn’t totally ruin your G.P.
- Promote a CHRISTMAS WINE SALE every Saturday afternoon in December. Turn your regulars and festive shoppers into wine buffs. You could theme each sale, say Reds, Whites, Sparkling/Champagne or Rosés.
- TRAIN and coach your staff in talking to your customers about their favourite wines, giving tasters and suggesting a take away.
- If you haven’t got one already, promote your new WINE CLUB, especially tastings and food pairings for the usually quiet months of January and February.
- Offer free WINE TASTINGS to all guests, not just party organisers. The chances are high on them ‘trying & buying’ and joining your Wine Club and could even incentivise last minute party bookings.
- Last but not least, splash out on a few ever so special FINE WINES. Bordeaux, Champagne, top end Australians; there’s always someone who wants to impress their friends and families or co-workers and if you’re canny you’ll be able to fulfil these ‘vanity’ orders. Again make sure your staff know all about your ‘finest wine collection’ and train them to spot selling opportunities.
Of course not all these ideas will suit all pubs but by picking those which you think you can use you’ll be maximising your sales opportunities and profitability, remember nothing ventured, nothing gained!
(Suggested by an article by Peter Austen, Innventive)
10 Christmas Party Wines to see if your supplier stocks
12 Xmas Drinks That Aren’t Mulled Wine…
1. Chambord Royale – Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands
If Christmas is the season when (for once) more is more, then there can never be a better time to drink from a glass shaped like a flamingo. We kid you not — earlier this year Chambord unveiled a new glass, a classic Champagne coupe with an off-centre stem, imitating a flamingo standing on one leg. Perfect for the pink signature serve that is the Chambord Royale (Chambord topped with sparkling wine) this party season.
2. Hunter’s Tea – Mast-Jägermeister UK
Among the hustle and bustle of the festive period sometimes all one needs is a simple cup of tea — and sometimes one requires something a little stronger. For these moments, offer your punters a Hunter’s Tea: brew 50ml of tea, add 50ml Jägermeister Spice, 25ml lemon juice, 12.5ml of sugar and 75ml of orange juice. Garnish with orange zest and a cinnamon stick and watch them unwind.
3. Absolut Christmas Cosmo – Pernod Ricard
Christmas is all about “creating serve envy” — a.k.a “I want one of those”, according to Pernod Ricard, which has launched a raft of different drinking vessels for this Christmas, from Malibu mugs to copper pineapples. Try this Christmassy cocktail served in whatever takes your fancy: 50ml Absolut Citron, 25ml Cointreau, 25ml lemon juice and 15ml cranberry juice, all shaken over ice.
4. Frobishers Classics – Frobishers
It’s OK, designated drivers, teetotallers and abstainers! Christmas 2015 will not be all flat pop and warm tap water, soft drinks have got exciting this year. This is the latest entrant to the posh end of the market, a three-strong range of “delicately carbonated juice drinks” from Frobishers.
5. Rimbaud Champagne – Jascots Wine Merchants
This is a totally new Champagne brand launched last month, just in time for the party season, and will only be available via the on-trade. Jascots joined forces with Champagne Volleraux to create the new fizz, which is described as “floral, citrussy and mineral.” Delicious, darling.
6. Élevé Pinot Noir Vin de France – Matthew Clark
Solving the perennial “what to serve with the turkey” conundrum is this lovely French Pinot Noir, which has a slightly savoury note to help boost flavours of the festive bird. About a third of the blend is aged in oak, which gives a touch of spice on the nose, and it is “ridiculously good value, at less than seven quid a bottle,” according to Matthew Clark.
7. WKD Frostbite – SHS Drinks
With 18 to 24-year-olds looking for accessible cocktails, licensees catering for this market could do worse than offering a few RTD-based sharing cocktails. “The ingredients are a staple in any bar and the WKD jugs will add extra pizzazz,” says Debs Carter, managing director for alcohol at SHS Drinks. Try this version, a merry mix of two 275ml bottles, WKD Blue, 50ml port, lemonade & ice.
8. Schweppes Sparkling Juice Drinks – Coca-Cola Enterprises
At just 20kcal per 100ml, this new soft drink option will appeal to anyone looking to mitigate all those sneaky mince pies and with one in five adults now teetotal (according to the Office of National Statistics) it should also appeal to a new generation of “straight drinkers”, says CCE.
9. J2O Midnight Amber – Britvic
This new addition to the J2O portfolio will, it is claimed, “bewitch the senses, charm the taste buds and sprinkle some magic on adult soft drink sales this winter.” The orange, lemon, mandarin & winter spice flavoured limited edition is exclusive to the on-trade and can be served on its own, or as part of a cocktail or mocktail.
10. Baileys – Diageo
Whether it’s served on the rocks, warmed in a hot chocolate or over ice cream, few drinks say Christmas like Baileys — indeed 6.5 million people enjoy a Baileys in December, according to Diageo. As people look to treat themselves during December the focus is likely to be on the luxury version, Baileys Chocolat Luxe.
11. Angry Balls – Hi-Spirits
This is a simple mixed drink that cleverly combines two of the biggest trends in drinks — flavoured American whiskeys and craft cider. It’s made with a 25ml shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, topped with Angry Orchard Hard Cider (an American craft cider) and served over ice.
12. Go Rudolph Go! – Cellar Trends
Spirits sales go stratospheric during the Christmas and new year period (an additional 30 million serves, according to CGA figures), so if you haven’t offered cocktails before, now is a good time to do so. Keep it simple while it’s busy, however, and use one of the pre-mixes on the market, such as Finest Call, to make a sharing cocktail like this one: a tropical punch made with Malibu, Southern Comfort, Finest Call peach purée, orange and apple juice. Garnish with a cherry.
These suggestions are from the most execellent InAPub trade newspaper and their Robyn Black