What are your predictions for 2018?

January 23rd, 2018 | Posted in: Features,People


Andrew Morrison, Sales Director, MAXXIUM UK; John Gemmell, Commercial Director, HEINEKEN UK; Stuart Ellis, UK Sales Manager, Gordon & MacPhail; James Byrne, Retail Development Manager, Molson Coors; Steve Anand, Sales Director, Inverarity Morton; Alan Hay, Sales Director On-Trade, Tennent’s (pictured) ; Peter Risk, Senior National Account Manager, Diageo; Harry Greenhalgh, On-Trade Category Manager, William Grant & Sons UK Ltd. This is what they had to say:-


ANDREW MORRISON: Bourbon is the next category to see the type of acceleration we have seen in gin. Whisky to continue to grow with consumers becoming more inquisitive and experimental. Casual dining / food occasions to continue to dominate why people visit the on trade. Maxxium to become the partner of choice in Scotland.

JOHN GEMMELL: MUP will come in to play, with more of an impact on the Off-Trade. Gin will continue to storm ahead in spirits. Craft beer will continue to grow and spread interest in beer, although there are clear signs that it is beginning to mature. Customers will need to pay particular attention to ranging and brand profitability. The other one that I expect to see is signs of premiumisation in draught cider. I remain very confident that the on trade remains in good shape.

STUART ELLIS: Similar to last year we expect gin to continue its growth, locally sourced product will become more and more relevant particularly in the gin category. The ‘buy less buy better’ phenomenon continues particularly within the single malt whisky category as consumers become more and more savvy about what they like and where they want to experiment with new flavour profiles from different distilleries

JAMES BYRNE: Great quality venues, with a range of brands and a story to tell will continue to go from strength to strength in 2018. Cheers to that!

STEVE ANAND:Seasonal and rotational products in every drinks category will become increasingly prominent. We will see greater interest in wines from lesser known grape varietals and countries as drinkers look for new taste experiences.

ALAN HAY: Last year we saw innovation across the licensed trade lead the way, whether it is the types of drinks on offer or the way in which the industry runs. We are witnessing increased usage of digital initiatives across the licensed trade. Services such as MyTennent’s were introduced in 2017 with the sole purpose of providing licensees with a single digital hub to aid the running of their business. In terms of drinks trends, we’re confident that premium serves will continue to grow, and in particular tank beer. In the last few years, consumer interest was piqued when tank beer took a resurgence and we were delighted to install our first tank dispense system in nearly three decades at The Citizen in Glasgow, serving consumers brewery fresh pints of Tennent’s Lager, something we’ll be looking to grow in 2018. We also expect craft to continue its growth, so stocking a brand like Drygate allows operators to tap into this growing trend and capitalise on the opportunity to sell drinks which often sit at a higher price point.

PETER RISK: The trend for premiumisation is still ongoing. We have seen premium spirits experience double-digit growth and drive total spirits performance, which really demonstrates that people are happily trading up in their purchases. Young people are drinking less, but they are seeking higher quality in their purchases – serves are going through a “make-under”. Wow-factor cocktails will always be sought after but lately, bartenders and mixologists are going back to basics with simple, no frills cocktails, focusing on quality spirits and making consumers think twice about what’s actually in
their glass. We expect to see Gin continue to surge in popularity due to the improved quality, diversity, and larger variety of mixers on offer – with the average pub now stocking four Gin brands on their bar. Similarly, we’ve seen a shift in the last few years away from malt whiskies carrying an age-statement, to more flavour-led products which are more diverse.

HARRY GREENHALGH: Continued movement towards premium products, alongside evolving cocktail menus in wider ranges of outlets Influence on the on-trade of key food and health trends like vegan/vegetarian eating, super-ingredients, and cuisines of the world. Success for venue types that combine multiple dimensions like food, drink, and social fun, like outdoor market-style nightlife spots.


2018 will be a big one for retailers when the minimum price starts in May. It will be interesting to see how LSOs are asked to check that the minimum price is being observed and if this will impact on their other duties. Also look out for possible further restrictions being debated such as a ban on alcohol advertising connected to sport, separate tills for alcohol in shops, and possibly more. Later this year all the licensing boards will be implementing new policies. There are already some suggestions that certain boards might be interested in changing licensed hours for pubs and clubs so this could be of benefit to some on trade operators. I also expect most boards to put in more focus on home delivery of alcohol which is a controversial topic at the moment.

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