With sales of beer tumbling in Britain’s public houses, Heineken-owned chain Star Pubs & Bars has appointed a dedicated wine category buyer to make its range “competitive with that of wholesalers and wine merchants.”
A former wine buyer at Tesco, Roberta Neave’s remit is to increase the company’s category support to licensees and to broaden and upgrade its wine range as consumers turn away from pints and towards wines and spirits.
Neave has added more than new bottles to the group’s portfolio, which will go live from the 1 October. The wine range has been bolstered with an “increased depth of customer favourites such as Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco, as well as the addition of more specialist premium wines,” according to the group. Neave said that pubs will also sell more varietals which have seen increased growth such as Pinot Noir and Picpoul.
“We’ve done a lot of work with our suppliers to identify areas where we can improve our offer.” she said. “We want to encourage trial and exploration, without overstretching customers’ wallets.”
In addition, the group is increasing its range of formats, from 187ml bottles to magnums.
Neave added: “We’ll be offering a selection of good, better and best wines in each country of origin and grape variety, with more high-quality options to enable licensees to capitalise on the premiumisation trend, which shows no sign of relenting.”
Beer sales in the UK rose by just over 3% in the first half of the year thanks to a strong performance in the off-trade, but in the pub trade, it’s a different story.
Revenue from beer in the on-trade has fallen significantly over the past decade, with an average rate of decline at 3.7%.