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Staycation Boom Set To Drive Pub Sales Higher Stars of the Future Delegates Hear

More UK consumers are likely to book staycations to avoid continuing disruptions at airports and other travel difficulties, delegates at Star Pubs & Bars’ first Stars of the Future masterclass heard at the event in London recently.

In a difficult economic landscape, pubs are set to benefit from several opportunities this upcoming year, including the World Cup, other sporting events, and more people holidaying in the UK this Halloween and Christmas. Category Buyer, Ben Ko-Nkengmo from Star Pubs & Bars explained how pubs can tap into these opportunities during the session, which focused on spirits and cocktails, supported by Pernod Ricard UK.

Within this, spirits and cocktail sales could provide pubs with elevated and lucrative revenue streams, especially around sporting events with sales data from the business’s Just Add Talent managed sites showing promising results.

* The next Stars of The Future food training session will take place in Birmingham on 27th September

* The food masterclass will cover emerging trends, cost controls and effective ways to premiumise menus, giving Star Pubs & Bars licensees and operators the chance to nominate their staff for one of 10 spots

* For more information on Stars of the Future food masterclass, please email

Ko-Nkengmo said: “Spirits are becoming more important to an increasingly diverse array of pub occasions. For example, during the World Cup, lager should be a Licensees’ focus. But when we looked at sales data from our Just Add Talent sites, we saw after the men’s EUROS, spirits’ share of wet sales grew substantially, driven by significate increases in cocktail and vodka shares. Spirits’ share of sales will vary depending on a pub’s customer base, but it shows Licensees need to look at their drinks data before focusing on just one category. Sales information is vital as it enables operators to shape their retail offer and keep it relevant to their customer base.”

Beer sales, however, still outperform all drinks categories across pubs during sporting events[1]. Heineken® is the number one beer associated with sport, stemming from its rich history of sponsorships, including the Women’s EURO 2022™[2].

Premium lager, including Birra Moretti, also saw increased sales of 51% during this year’s Six Nations rugby tournament[3], showing classic and reliable serves such as lager and cider continue to over index during major sporting tournaments.

Outside of sporting events, Ko-Nkengmo explained cocktail sales were up 16% in pubs this year versus 2019[4]. This was an example of consumers seeking treat occasions at a more affordable price, which was another opportunity for pubs to tap into.

“People are looking at how they can treat themselves without spending too much, so they’re approaching their local pubs because it means they don’t have to pay for petrol or a train ticket into city or town centres,” continued Ko-Nkengmo. “They want something that they can’t do at home, like a professionally-made cocktail, but don’t want to go to a fancy cocktail bar when they can get it from their local.”

“Within cocktails, but specifically spirits, premium was continuing to gain traction and at a quicker rate than before. However, consumers wanted their premium spirits to be served in a premium way, otherwise the perceived value of the drink declines,” said Nkengmo.

“Right now, we’re experiencing something called the ‘lipstick effect’ – when consumers spend on small indulgences during an economic crisis – and this is going to continue as people aren’t travelling as much due to issues at airports, but also because people continue to work from home,” explained Ko-Nkengmo. “Also, from the recession of 2008, we know that people visited the pub more, they do it to be part of an atmosphere and to tap into a positive experience when they can’t spend on more expensive things.”


  • A well laid out bar helps inform customer decisions and speeds up service

  • Tier spirits on shelves from cheapest to premium and price each tier the same

  • Place informative tags on standout spirits with price, ABV and flavour profile for staff and customers

  • Unless a specialist bar, don’t overstock. Keep the likes of gin ranges to no more than 8 options

  • Create ‘hotspots’ that appeal to non-drinkers or those with special dietary requirements to further boost sales

When customers come to the pub, it is important for bar staff to ensure they drive sales further through upselling. As Ko-Nkengmo explained, consumers are seeking premium options but will only buy if the opportunity is made simple.

Pernod Ricard UK On Trade Sales Director James Bremner explained additional sales could be achieved if the value and experiential proposition was clear. Premiumisation is happening across the board. For example, consumers will spend up to £2 more on a packet of crisps if they could see the value in trading up.

“This is the same for spirits and cocktails,” he said. “A customer isn’t going to spend upwards of £7 on a gin and tonic if it comes in a dirty glass with a sliver of lemon and one ice cube, but they will if it is in a great glass full of ice and a beautiful garnish. This is the opportunity for pubs to generate more revenue per serve by going the extra mile on presentation, it’s the difference between a £9 drink sale and a £5 drink sale as well as maximising the opportunity for a repeat purchase.” [1] Oxford Partnership – Oxford Market Watch: Lager sales 11-12 March 2022

[2] Toluna survey, October 2020, 18-64 beer drinkers

[3] Oxford Partnership – Oxford Market Watch: Lager sales 11-12 March 2022

[4] CGA OPMS to 26.02.22


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