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UDV unveils 1.4m bar initiative

Published:  23 July, 2008

Spirits get marketing push...

GUINNESS UDV UK has unveiled a 1.4 million initiative to help on-licensees improve their spirits sales. Paul Linthwaite, category development manager, told Harpers that the company is targeting 2,400 independent free-trade bars and pubs and approximately 1,000 managed pubs, nationwide. The 1.4 million is until the company's financial year ends in June. The budget for subsequent activity has not yet been set. Linthwaite stressed that the initiative is unbranded and purely aimed at getting licensees, bar managers and staff to serve spirits better. "This is not rocket science," he said. "It is about giving the consumer a decent drink. It is good for the consumer - they get a better drink - and it is good for the trade, since there is a definite profit advantage for the retailer." According to AC Nielsen statistics for the GB on-trade MAT to October/November, spirits are up 5%, with vodka, tequila and Jack Daniel's leading the way. Linthwaite said the "serve-based initiative" will be instigated by 80 UDV business development managers, who will visit the bars and clubs advising and training. At present, spirits average approximately 8% of a bar's drinks sales. In the style-bars in London, 30-40% "is not unusual", according to Linthwaite. He said the on-trade has to take a leaf out of the retailers' book in knowing how to "interact with the consumer". Understanding that people's field of vision is 1.2m, it is important to have key brands prominently displayed, or present an outlet's offering in a succinct way, so that customers know what is on offer and what to order.