This issue, Retail Express plunges headlong into summer – nowhere more so than in the world of alcohol.

Retailer viewpoints:

Saf Sathi, Singlewell Post Office, Gravesend, Kent.

saf“In summer I find that ciders and alcopops do really, really well. Beer still sells steadily, but I do see usual beer customers buying flavoured ciders and fruitier, sweeter drinks instead. I think frozen pouches are a good idea. I’ve got my eye on a few lines and will be introducing them over the next couple of months. I’ll probably sell them both frozen and ambient to give customers a choice, both at the same price.”

Paul Mather, Sherston Sub Post Office & Stores, Wiltshire

paul mather

“We are only five miles from the Badminton Horse Trials, which start on May 6. Customers go there for picnics, so I have a display of picnic items along with small £1.99 wine bottles, and the pre-mixed Pimm’s and Gordon’s, which always sell well."

At the Pro-Retail trade event in April, I was asked a brilliant question by a retailer who had stopped at the Retail Express ‘Create Your Own Summer’ stand.

“Where’s the excitement?,” he asked.

We’ve been spoiled in recent years by huge international football tournaments, the Olympics or the Diamond Jubilee.

This year, that ‘excitement’ in your store won’t be handed to you on a plate. So it’s about creating that ‘excitement’ around local and community events, by bringing some of your own skills and knowledge as retailers to the forefront.

So like Saf Sathi, he’s planned what lines he is introducing, he knows where his customers are headed and what categories they’re going towards, and has already planned his pricing strategy. Exciting.

Or Paul Mather, in our summer alcohol feature, who has identified a crucial local opportunity, that will bring both local and passing trade to his store – and he’s worked out how to take advantage of it. Exciting.

Or maybe you love Diageo’s James Cragg’s bigger ideas for the category. Could you start a cocktail club? It’s not for everyone, of course, but there might not be anything more exciting than becoming a category expert and enthusing your customers with your knowledge.

Perhaps you want to do what Harry Goraya does in his Nisa store in Kent, and stock rare and expensive bottles of spirits, at £100 each. People come into his store, take pictures and share them online. Harry’s got his own army of marketeers – his customers.

But excitement can also come with the simple. Get an ice bucket, fill it with six bottles of lager, sell it with a bag of ice for £7. Create a plinth in store to display it. Brilliant, and simple. Rav Garcha promised us at Pro-Retail that he’ll be doing this in his store. I don’t doubt that he’ll be telling me how excited he is at the sales increase when I next speak to him.

Where’s the excitement? It’s in your hands. Go out there, and Create Your Own Summer.

Read the full feature on growing your summer alcohol sales here. Tweet us your ideas for the summer using the hashtag #CreateMySummer.