When it comes to serving beer and cider, cask has long been king! It’s generally the first format producers look at using and it’s the cheapest way to get your drinks into the On Trade sector. Keg with its longer life and generally non returnable nature is also slowly gaining ground.
However, small pack options are increasingly becoming the chosen method of consumption for drinkers. In the craft beer and cider sector, this is especially the case. Younger customers want to crack open a bottle or a can of their favourite brew whenever and wherever they please. And these days, that’s more likely to be somewhere other than your local bar, pub or restaurant.
But given the additional production costs and cash flow implications, is it going to be worth the investment if you’re a small independent? Here are 5 reasons why we think the investment could be well worth your while.
Leg In The Door
For newer breweries or with newer more experimental drinks, on trade managers may be happier to give your small pack option a go before committing to putting you on pump or giving you a guest rotation spot. This gives you an option to ‘get a leg in the door’ when other sales options are initially not available for your offer. It’s far easier to offer some bottles/cans for the prospective customer to trial!
Small packs offer you a chance to create visual appeal, to inject your brand style or personality and provide you with a platform to share your brand story. They also offer longer ‘in mind’ presence when they sit in your customer’s fridge or on a retailers shelf week in, week out. Different packaging design or size formats can also help you stand out from the crowd.
True it costs more to put it in a bottle or a can. However, once you’ve made that initial investment, you are now in a position to demand a higher price and achieve greater profitability for this ‘added value’ packaging option. This is especially the case if you have developed an attractive design that will stand out from the competition. Again good design is a cost you need to bear to better secure sales with the added impact it delivers. The secret is to create outstanding special beers to put in bottles/cans and not just your standard range!
Sell Through More Distribution Channels
Instead of having to suffice with selling your beer or cider to pubs and other hospitality outlets, you can now offer your product in supermarkets, bottle shops, off licenses, online and to hospitality outlets that don’t sell drinks on cask or keg. More than 50% of beer is sold this way now, so it is crucial to have a share of this important market if you want to grow.
Cask beer has a short shelf life and as such makes it difficult to sell to distant UK cities or the wider Export market. Equally you cannot control the period of time it is in the distribution chain. If you pride yourself on the quality of your beer, you cannot take the risk of “Deliver & forget”. Kegs, cans and bottles, on the other hand, are great at keeping your product fresher for longer and will still have sufficient shelf life even after taking up to three weeks to get to the most far-flung destination. But small pack has the added advantage of being easier to package, more durable and easier to handle.
If you are interested in getting more advice on developing a ‘small pack’ strategy for your drinks business, then please get in touch and we’ll connect you with one of our local advisors.