Magazine Archive

WELCOME NOTE

There's no (and low) limit

Back in early January, the eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a news story on pubandbar.com that introduced the trade to a new project called The Alternative Option.

In short, it’s an initiative we devised that partners with independent brands that specialise in low- and no-alcohol products, and then introduces them to operators within the industry who are willing to stock the drinks for a trial period. It was a fun little project to deliver and, as you can read on page 26, the results of coinciding an activation like this with Dry January worked wonders. A big thank you to The Star of Kings in London for getting involved.

The key lesson though, which was reinforced by operations director Steve Macri when I spoke with him about the trial last month, is that these products are no longer limited to the first month of the year. Like puppies at Christmas, low and no drinks aren’t just for January – Electric Star Pubs isn’t the only on-trade business capitalising on the surge in year-long demand for low and no options. Yes yes, we all saw Sainsbury’s open up The Clean Vic in July last year, with the retail behemoth annoyingly beating many on-trade giants to the PR-friendly punch of opening a pub that served no booze at all. To be honest, I doubt they were the first and they certainly weren’t the last.

For example, in this issue we’ve also spoken with the guys behind The Initiative, a multifaceted hospitality business that recently opened Shaman, London’s newest no- and low-alcohol venue. You can read the thoughts of co-founder Youri Axel Michel from page 22.

Of course, these bespoke venues would not be opening if it weren’t for consumer appetite – the on-trade is the master of adaptation, and this is just another trend for operators to accommodate. It goes to show how powerful the preference of your guests can be, no matter the product in question. On this note, we’ve once again partnered with our friends at research agency Savanta to find out what your customers think of a certain product category on the high street. This time we’ve been looking at the coffee market (page 38), which, as you’ll discover, is still wide open for pub and bar operators to make the most of.

Tristan O’Hana - Editor