Pricewatch December 15 2017 - Craft beer


Craft ales remain a new phenomenon in many convenience stores, which perhaps explains why so many stores adhere to the prices recommended by suppliers.

Of the prices on our table, 43% match Booker’s RRPs.That said, promotions are clearly influencing sales too. Ranjit Singh told us a three for £5 deal was highly effective in his store.

Our graphic, meanwhile, shows just 7.2% of retailers charge the £2.19 recommended by Booker for Whitstable Pale Ale, while 67% go below, with £1.99 and £1.89 the most commonly chosen prices.

Volume sales may be low, but margins typically range from 18% to 35%, and good availability alongside price are the best ways to drive sales, we were told.

Profit checker

Price Price distribution %

Price checker

BREWDOG PUNK IPA 330ML £2.28 £2.19 £2.29 £2.19 £1.89 £2.29 £2.49 -
HOP HOUSE 650ML £2.57 £2.59 £2.59 - - - - -
BREWDOG DEAD PONY CLUB 330ML £2.24 £2.19 £2.19 £2.09 £1.99 £2.19 £2.49 -
WHITSTABLE BAY PALE ALE 500ML £2.12 £1.99 - - £1.99 - - -
BREWDOG THE PHYSICS £2.30 £2.29 - £2.29 £1.89 £2.29 £2.49 £2.25
BREWDOG ELVIS JUICE BOTTLE 330ML £2.41 £2.39 - £2.19 - - £2.49 £2.39
BREWDOG NANNY STATE 330ML £2.00 £1.99 - - - - £2.00 £1.99
WHITSTABLE BAY ORGANIC ALE 500ML £2.30 £2.19 - - £1.99 - - -
SAM ADAMS BOSTON LAGER 330ML £1.63 £1.69 £1.89 £1.49 - £1.69 - £1.30
BROOKLYN LAGER 355ML £2.35 £2.49 - £2.49 - £2.49 - £2.25
GOOSE ISLAND 355ML £2.00 £2.25 - £1.99 - - - -
13 GUNS 330ML £1.97 £1.99 - £1.99 £1.99 £1.99 - £2.00
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Data supplied by

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How we drive our profits

Stuart Mitchell Avatar

Stuart Mitchell

Mitchells Costcutter

Location: Newburgh, Aberdeenshire

Size: 1,200sq ft

Type: neighbourhood

Top Tip
Less is more. Stick to a small range, especially at first, but keep it well-stocked. Availability is everything
I sell four Brewdog ales – Dead Pony, Kingpin, Elvis Juice and the Punk IPA. The latter of these I sell for £2.00 for a 330ml bottle. The margin is 18% and I wouldn’t sell for any less than that. I get it from Batleys cash and carry and always have a beer promotion running, which changes every three weeks. The key to making craft ale work, in my view, is to offer a well-stocked small range. I go into some stores and they’re offering a big range but the shelves are full of gaps. I would rather have less choice but more on the shelf.
Peter Lamb Avatar

Peter Lamb

Lambs Larder

Location: Bells Yew Green, East Sussex

Size: 650sq ft

Type: neighbourhood

Top Tip
People want to drink local ales so keep stocked up and remember customers are always up for trying something new
I stock three locally-brewed craft ales – Old Dairy, Westerham and Cellar Head – and they all sell at a steady, if unspectacular rate. Old Dairy is £2.85 for a 500ml bottle – I don’t stock 330ml as they don’t sell – and the margin is 35%. On average, I sell 20-30 bottles of craft ale per week, so I only buy in one 24-bottle case from each supplier every seven to 10 days. There’s definitely a trend towards craft ale, but lager is my biggest seller by a country mile, with sales of Kronenbourg, Stella Artois and Foster’s far outstripping craft ales.
Ian Lewis Avatar

Ian Lewis

Spar Crescent Stores

Location: Witney, Oxfordshire

Size: 1,800sq ft

Type: neighbourhood

Top Tip
You take a leap of faith when introducing new beer, so make sure you have enough available, especially if it’s on offer
I try to stock a wide variety of beer, so I was pleased to introduce Brewdog Punk IPA to my store in June. Traditional lager is still my biggest seller and we shift around 60 cans a week, with customers favouring Stella Artois and Foster’s. In comparison, my sales of craft beers are quite low – we sell seven bottles of Brewdog a week, at £2.15 for 300ml and a 35% margin, for example – but it’s early days. Recently, we had a refit and I’ve taken the pale ale out of the fridge, as I’m told customers prefer it at room temperature. We’ll see if that helps sales.
Ranjit Singh Avatar

Ranjit Singh

Parans Minimarket

Location: Leeds

Size: 2,000sq ft

Type: neighbourhood

Top Tip
Take note of what people want and buy accordingly. My customers like craft ale, so I make sure it’s always available
I have strong sales figures for craft ales in my shop and regularly shift 50 to 60 300ml bottles of Brewdog Punk IPA per week. I sell it for £2.69 per bottle, but the majority of sales come from bottles on the three for £5 deal I offer in my store permanently. My shop is in an area with a large number of young professionals aged from 22 to 30, and they like their craft ale. For this reason, we tend to make good use of social media, and I promote my craft ale range to 400 local people on Facebook, as well as via leaflet drops.

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