How much do you know about the alcohol you sell?

Do you know about what you sell? Not just the size and shape of things and your profit margins, but what would make people buy more from your store?

Do you know about what you sell? Not just the size and shape of things and your profit margins; do you have the sort of knowledge that would make people buy more from your store?

I ask because of some new research by Pioneer Brewing Company – AB InBev’s craft beer division. According to their work, 74% of drinkers will try a new beer if staff know how to talk about it. Just over a third of customers are drawn to pubs, bars and “even particular retailers” if they think the staff are knowledgeable.

There’s a shop near where I live, a small former newsagent who found himself increasingly struggling to focus on the traditional CTN categories. He looked at what was selling well – his small local craft alcohol range – and changed his shop model entirely. He now basically runs an off-licence with great local beers, supplemented by a tight range of confectionery, snacks, tobacco and soft drinks.

However, he doesn’t really know his stuff. He is a newsagent that has somehow stumbled on a great alcohol range, but he doesn’t alter it regularly enough for his customers to visit more often. It’s clear that he himself doesn’t know a lot about his product range – a local beer supplier helps guide him.

But ask him “if I like this, will I like this?”, and he doesn’t know. Ask him about a new product by a brewery whose range he stocks, and he doesn’t know.

It’s a real shame, and a real missed opportunity. Especially as I found out that this week that a specialist craft beer shop is about to open a new branch almost opposite his store. I fear he will struggle to compete with a specialist.

Here are four starters, but I’d love to know how you stay on top of your beer ranges and cater for growing demand. Let me know on Twitter @Stefan_Appleby.

  1. Get to know your local brewery – there are more than 1,800 across the UK. There is one near you, wherever you are. Call them and talk to them.
  2. Learn the key beer styles – lager, IPA, pale ale, porter, stout and red ale – and use this as a range basis.
  3. Look at what beers people buy together – follow this trend and range accordingly, adding new products where appropriate.
  4. Get help and rotate your range – ask your local supplier or wholesaler for info on new ranges and launches.


This article doesn't have any comments yet, be the first!

Become a member to have your say