Heineken UK’s top tips for wholesalers as the season of sport kicks off

As summer approaches, so too does a bumper sporting season; bringing with it plenty of occasions for wholesalers to increase their sales as retailers stock up to cater for customers watching the upcoming matches with a cold beer or cider in hand.

For the first time in history, we have an all-English UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League Final – a feat that no other country has ever accomplished. After two of the most unbelievable comebacks in the UEFA Champions League, on 1st June 2019, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspurs will be going head-to-head to bring home the glory, a game that will be completely unmissable for consumers across the country.

Furthermore, with the UEFA Nations league semi-final against the Netherlands on Thursday 6th June, the England men’s national team are just two wins away from winning their first trophy since 1966. The final is due to take place on Sunday 9th June so wholesalers can guarantee an increase in footfall, should England prove successful, as retailers look to stock up as the entire nation gets behind them.

Finally, with the Cricket World Cup and Women’s World Cup all kicking off in the coming months, there is a vital opportunity available for independents to unlock value in the category. With 57% more convenience shoppers expecting to see beer communication and promotions around football than any other seasonal event, wholesalers must ensure they put on a top performance to capatalise on increased demand from retailers. What’s more, with the period between the May and August bank holidays typically playing host to the biggest sales weeks of the year (beer and cider sales can be between 45-50% higher compared to Christmas[1]), wholesalers should not underestimate how big the summer season is for the channel.

With Amstel sponsoring the UEFA Europa League and Heineken the UEFA Champions League, HEINEKEN UK has pulled together its hat-trick of top tips to help wholesalers top the league table this sporting season:

  1. A Winning Line-Up 

Crucial to any winning sports team is the player line-up – and in-store it’s no different! With this in mind, wholesalers must ensure they are fully stocked with a broad range of brands, including shoppers’ favourites, in the right pack sizes, to ensure they can offer retailers the products they need. As shoppers often look to buy drinks to enjoy with friends during the games, retailers will be looking for multi-pack formats, so wholesalers should ensure they stock popular four-packs synonymous with sports and social occasions, such as Heineken, Amstel, and Kronenbourg 1664.

Furthermore, wholesalers should also stock premium options to that retailers can cater for those looking to trade up and try something new. Premiumisation is a continuing trend, with shoppers increasingly looking to trade up for a treat at home. Brands like Birra Moretti and Old Mout are perfect for these more rewarding moments that consumers are seeking. To help stay on trend with their line-up, wholesalers should keep an eye on the fixtures for upcoming matches and on the weather forecasts, enabling them to remind retailers of the key times to stock up.

  1. An Alcohol-Free Kick

With a broad range of games taking place at different times in the day, wholesalers must also not underestimate the importance of supporting retailers with Low and No Alcohol options. With more people making conscious choices, new revenue streams can be unlocked by merchandising alcohol and alcohol-free options together in off-shelf display areas to provide shoppers with choice to meet the increased demand for alternative choices. We recommend implementing clear signage, so that shoppers looking for no and low alcohol drinks can find what they are looking for swiftly.

Leading the Low and No category is Heineken® 0.0, which is currently experiencing 269%[2] growth in the impulse channel and has quickly become the fastest growing brand within the category. Heineken® 0.0 responds directly to those wanting to moderate their alcohol intake but still enjoy great tasting beer and feel part of the drinking occasion. With convenience a key factor in driving purchase in retailers, HEINEKEN® 0.0’s 4x330ml bottles are the perfect solution to offer shoppers looking for a suitable pack size to take to get-togethers.

  1. Fixtures for Fixtures 

With consumers looking to purchase food and snacks alongside their drinks, there is also a huge opportunity for retailers to be more adventurous with their cross-merchandising to showcase how perfect pairings of food and drink can increase basket spend. With this in mind, wholesalers should stock up on convenient formats, such as single bottles and four packs, and educate retailers on the opportunity for cross category merachandsing in store to improve the shopper experience and drive incremental sales.

Many beers and ciders offer a perfect accompaniment to a number of food dishes; premium lagers such as Birra Moretti lend themselves well to this cross-category merchandising with its smooth and full bodided flavour profile pairing well with a number of dishes. Pairing beers and ciders, for example Amstel and Strongbow Cloudy Apple near fixtures that feature BBQ food is perfect for those hosting a party or BBQ before they watch a big game. Check out www.tasteofcidersandbeers.co.uk for a guide to food matching all of HEINEKEN’s products.

Finally, it’s also essential for wholesalers to remind customers of the big sporting events they need to stock up for. One way to achieve this in-depot is by creating an event atmosphere through impactful product displays that make customers want to be part of the sporting occasion. Furthermore, social media is also key to help wholesalers engage with retailers by reminding them ahead of time when the next big match is taking place.

For further help and guidance, please contact your local HEINEKEN representative.

[1] Impulse Nielsen weekly sales Summer ’18 vs. Christmas Week 2018

[2] Nielsen Impulse Channel MAT Value Sales Data at 23.03.19