Analysis

Independent retailers are not making as much profit out of ales as they could be, according to our data. Ten of the 12 bestsellers are being sold at a lower price on average than RRP.  Ales are a more premium option to mainstream beer brands and target older consumers with more money in their pockets. 

Buoyed by the surge in craft beer over the past five years, these products should be priced at a premium, with displays highlighting why they are worth paying for. 

Nearly 40% of retailers are stocking Old Speckled Hen below RRP, which means they could be missing out on extra profits with every sale.

Profit checker

Price checker

PRODUCTAVERAGE UK RETAIL PRICEBOOKER RRPMAIN ROAD C-STORE ON OUTSKIRTS OF BIRMINGHAMNEWSAGENT AND OFF LICENCE IN CHESHIRE VILLAGE HIGH STREETLARGE MAIN ROAD STORE IN NORTH MANCHESTER PRECINCT C- STORE IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE VILLAGEHIGH STREET SHOP IN NORTHAMPTON SHIRE TOWNHIGH STREET SHOP IN NORTHAMPTON SHIRE TOWN
NEWCASTLE BROWN ALE NRB 550ML£2.28£2.49£1.99£2.39£2.49£2.49£1.99£1.99
GUINNESS DRAUGHT 440ML 10PK£13.40£14.99£14.99£14.99£14.99
SHARPS DOOM BAR EXCEPTIONAL AMBER ALE 500ML£2.42£2.49£1.99£2.49£2.49£2.49£1.99£1.99
GUINNESS ORIGINAL 500ML 4PK£5.45£4.99£5.00£6.29£6.29£5.99£5.99
JOHN SMITHS EXTRA SMOOTH 10 PK 440ML£11.32£11.99£11.99£11.99£10.00£10.00
MCEWANS EXPORT 500ML£1.51£1.59£1.19£1.59£1.45£1.45
GUINNESS FOREIGN EXTRA STOUT 330ML£1.62£1.95£1.59£1.95
OLD SPECKLED HEN 500ML£2.37£2.49£1.99£2.49£2.49£2.49£1.99£1.99
GUINNESS DRAUGHT 440ML£1.50£1.29£1.59
HOBGOBLIN STRONG DARK ALE NRB 5.5% 500ML£2.18£2.19£1.99£2.19£2.19£2.19£1.99£1.99
ABBOTT ALE NRB 500ML£2.38£2.49£2.49£2.49£1.99£1.99
FULLERS LONDON PRIDE BITTER 500ML BOTTLE£2.40£2.39£2.39
Data supplied by

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How we drive our profit

Bimal Patel Avatar

Bimal Patel

Londis Ferme Park Road

Location: Haringey, London

Size: 2,600sq ft

Type: neighbourhood Top Tip Invest in multipacks of ales and put them on promotion. It also helps to offer customers new varieties We like to put ales on offer, and they work best in a multipack deal. For example, multipack offers such as ‘two for £5’, or ‘three for £6’ sell really well. This increases our sales, but it does mean we have a lower margin. We typically aim for a 30% margin overall. I find that ale in particular sells the most during the summer, so we give it increased chiller space, whereas in the winter, we put other things at the front. Weather is a big driver for sales for us, so it’s important to keep ales at eye-level during the hotter months.

Narendra Singh Jadeja Avatar

Narendra Singh Jadeja

Londis

Location: Waltham Forest, London

Size: 1,000sq ft

Type: neighbourhood Top Tip Find out what your customers want and stick to the bestsellers in the category Promotions on ales always sell well, especially on brands such as London Pride, Spitfire and Golden Champion. Having a wide range is also important and I stock around 20 to 30 brands at one time to give shoppers variety where possible. Whenever ales are on promotion through my symbol group, I like to stock up because it’s likely that the multiples are also doing offers at the same time, and it’s about finding ways to compete with them. I aim for a 30% margin on sales and price them below the RRP, but above the promotional price.

Ash Patel Avatar

Ash Patel

Gerhold Fine Food & News

Location: Putney, London

Size: 1,000sq ft

Type: high street Top Tip Invest in local brands that shoppers might not find in other independent stores near you I don’t stick to the RRP recommended by my symbol group or the supplier, but prefer to set my own. I mark up around 40% to 45% because this is what makes the most profit. Whereas if I adhere to what Londis recommend, I might not make as much profit on it – maybe only around 10%. But, ultimately, it all depends on what price I am able to buy the ales at. We have a vast range of ales in store and I think to be able to compete with the multiples on range, you need to find out what your customers really want, and stock accordingly.

Julian Hull Avatar

Julian Hull

Nisa Local

Location: Southminster, Essex

Size: 2500sq ft

Type: village Top Tip Place ale at eye-level so shoppers can easily see it; we keep it by the checkout so shoppers always know we sell it Sticking to the RRP works best for us and we always stock the single bottles on promotion at three for £5 – rate of sale is important to us. The Sharp’s Brewery range does really well during the summer and normally men aged 50 and over buy it the most. However, I have noticed that over the past year, so many new entrants to the market have made the ale category saturated, so I have taken measures to streamline our range, going from offering 25 lines to around 18. This way, shoppers can find what they are looking for easily.