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May 6, 2020

How your wine list can help post-lockdown

Wine list blog


This is not just going to be another blog about the whole, well, you know… virus. This blog is to help you prepare to plan your re-opening with a bang, fizz, and pop! Simple as it may sound, the key to this is using your wine list as a tool. An enticing wine list will re-engage previous patrons and welcome new or cautious spenders with open, but socially distanced, arms. This feature will explore some simple steps, focusing on how your wine list can make the world of difference to your business, as we prepare for our ‘new normal’.

Now, first things first. Why wine? Why should you look at your wine list, above other drinks, as the ‘star player’ in your team going forward? Well, simply put, consumers love it! And don’t just take our word for it… A recent YouGov poll stated that 81% of adults who have drunk alcohol in the past year have drunk wine, narrowly ahead of both beer and spirits, both coming in at 79%.

When asked to pick their favourite alcoholic drink, wine was, again, the favourite among consumers, picking up 28% of the vote. Beer was second with 23% and spirits came in at just 20%. In addition we know that during the lockdown, retail wine sales in the UK have skyrocketed showing still a huge demand for wine. We are anticipating that this demand should then translate back into on-trade when we will soon be able to enjoy a glass in a pub garden again or a Champagne cocktail at our favourite bar.

So now that we have clearly illustrated why consumers view wine as the ‘crème de la crème’ of drinks, you might be thinking… we already serve wine so no need to read on. We say WAIT! Do read on…. there is a little more that needs your attention to achieve a great wine service, one that will engage and delight your customers.


Price Points!

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room… price. Through the long period of premiumisation where people were drinking less but spending more, the price was not as much of a barrier as it will be once lockdown comes to an end (in the short-term at least). This means that pricing needs to be considered more than ever, and we don’t mean offering cheaper, lower quality products… we mean that there’s an opportunity to start thinking of maximising sales by selling both wines and Champagnes by the glass, reaching for those more premium options that you might not have done before. For example, your premium red, which may only shift a few units a week, would likely make a great premium by the glass option. We don’t anticipate that people will stop treating themselves, they will likely just look for new ways to indulge and a glass of premium wine allows for a lower point of entry vs buying a full bottle. Examples of this are visible in a few early Covid focus consumer studies such as one conducted by the EY Consumer Index. This demonstrates that 60% of consumers will be cautious about spending in the immediate future. Looking for the positives, we believe that now is the time to focus on a ‘premium wine by the glass’ offer to allow your consumers the ability to indulge while generating more margin from each bottle sold. Everyone’s a winner!


Style and Substance

When it comes to the industry reopening, all at almost the same time, being different has never been so crucial! Yes, you absolutely do need your classic Riojas, Merlots, and Pinots on the list and we’d never advise to steer away from proven bestsellers. What we are saying is you should endeavor to have some items on your wine list that can start a conversation and pull customers in with sheer curiosity. Maybe it’s a tasting flight of bio-dynamic wines, or a special new English Sparkling? These differences make your list exciting and different. Perhaps this could even be something that could change every month/week to keep the interest and excitement going via a ‘specials’ board. Your customers will value the ability to see the wine, learn about the wine, and finally, choose the wine!

Nobody wants to put in all of this effort and then serve a bad glass of wine. We know you understand the importance of making sure that everything you serve is fresh and in great drinking condition. That’s what keeps your customers coming back and spending more!


For the ‘Gram 

One of the many ways that people have been able to share their experiences, without feeling cut-off from the world, has been through the increased use of social media platforms. Data from GlobalWebIndex (GWI) indicates that 47% of internet users aged 16-64, across 17 countries are spending longer on social media (with 23% spending “significantly” longer). This means that when planning to re-open while the rest of the world is in lockdown… pre-opening social media promotion is key! So, now you have that new premium, innovative wine list with key price points that we have just been preaching about….  Well it’s time to start promoting it before lockdown is over so consumers can plan to come to you the moment they’re allowed! This builds desire and demand from the first day. To get the most traction, you should then keep it going and use social media to connect with your customers on a long term basis. Consumers who connect with brands on social media are loyal customers, with nearly 9 in 10 people saying they buy from companies they follow on social networks. The portion of people who said they increased their spending with a brand they follow rose 12% to 75% this year from 2019, as per a study from Sprout Social.

So that’s the promotion side, but the social media journey continues when the customer is in your venue. By now we’re all familiar with the sight of new and existing customers visiting your venue and snapping pictures of their drinks or meal. This is a trend we see gathering further momentum after lockdown! As always, it’s crucial to make sure that your new and interesting wine list is backed-up with great service and presentation. Use this time to make sure your back bar is looking its finest, with your best assets on show. Allow customers opportunities to take pictures of their glass or bottle for the ‘gram! Ensure that your next Champagne cocktail is fun and quirky so it will look perfect on people’s timelines. This is not just for a fuzzy feeling, it helps your bottom line with the 76% of consumers who have ordered a cocktail simply because they have seen on their friends’ social profiles.


Don’t Waste It!

With your new wine list ready to rock, what you don’t want to do is start throwing the profits down the drain. We can hear you scream at this blog now, ”you have just told me to have more wines by the glass which means more bottles will be open and more wastage!” Well fear not, as there is an elegant solution that lets you have a delectable wine by the glass list with some premium and interesting options, whilst eliminating waste. This magic device is a Bermar wine & Champagne preservation system! All of Bermar’s systems are powered by ePreserve technology which gives you professional-grade preservation in just 1 – 5 seconds. Once a bottle is preserved with a Bermar system it will stay fresh for 21 days, meaning you no longer have to pour any wine or Champagne down the drain.

So, that’s it from us for now! It’s time for you to continue researching, promoting, and prepping your venue ready for the influx of customers needing that premium treat. We look forward to working with you soon and stay safe.


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