Star Pubs & Bars helps licensees capitalise on cocktail boom

Star Pubs & Bars has launched a free cocktail menu builder to help its leased and tenanted licensees capitalise on a post lockdown boom in cocktail sales and aid their pandemic recovery.

Data from Star’s Just Add Talent (JAT) managed operator pubs reveals that cocktail sales have doubled since pubs reopened in May, with cocktails now accounting for 25% of spirit serves in the average pub.

The increase has contributed to a 44% surge in spirits’ share of wet sales. Spirits are now the second biggest category at JAT pubs after beer and ciders.

Star’s new cocktail menu builder has its own website and has been developed with major spirits suppliers such as Diageo, William Grant & Sons and Bacardi-Martini. The service enables licensees to access over 450 different cocktail recipes, search for recipes using spirits they have in stock and create two free personalised cocktail menus a year.

Images and spirits logos for menu production are provided as well as templates listing the top ten most popular serves by venue type, ranging from community locals to premium style bars.

Star Pubs & Bars spirits category buyer, Ben Ko-Nkengmo said, “People stayed close to home for 18 months due to the pandemic. Many rediscovered their local pubs and wanted them to provide more sophisticated serves such as cocktails that they’d normally enjoyed on nights out in town and city centre bars.

“Serving cocktails is no longer a ‘nice to have’ even for community pubs. Customers expect at least a capsule menu of four really well made cocktails. This trend will be amplified in the festive season when pub goers look to treat themselves.”

Ko-Nkengmo added, “Licensees have been through an exceptionally challenging time, and are now facing issues such as staff shortages. Our cocktail menu builder is designed to make it easy for them to tap into demand for cocktails and drive sales with minimum work.

“It’s had an amazing response from spirits producers. Our pandemic rent support proved the value of the leased & tenanted model. We will continue to build on that with business boosting initiatives.”

Rick Houston (pictured) introduced a menu of 15 cocktails to his premium local - The Cartvale at Busby. He said, “Pubs that don’t offer cocktails are missing a trick; everyone loves them. They give us a significant additional income stream accounting for 7% of our food and drink sales. They also add an element of theatre and wow factor to The Cartvale that customers really enjoy.

“We’ve sold £37,000 of cocktails over the summer and are now looking to refresh our menu for the winter. The cocktail menu builder will be a great source of inspiration. It isn’t restricted by brand or spirits producer, so fills a real gap in the market.”