Draught and craft

Flavoured ciders and draught beer are in high demand as consumers prepare for autumn.

Drinkers have really helped boost the economy from April through to August and now they will continue to do so as the industry navigates its transition from summer to autumn.

While cocktails remain popular, flavoured ciders have risen in popularity and draught beers have remained consistently high in demand. Fruity flavours are still fresh in the minds of consumers and flavoured ciders are set to aid that anticipated autumn return this year.

Michael, CEO of HonestBrew, highlights that the increase in demand for different tasting ciders comes from people wanting to mix up their summer drinking repertoire – a welcome spin on a familiar product.

“We’re experiencing a surge on the craft end of the market where producers are riding the wave of interest in drier styles and putting more out to market with a variety of food-friendly styles”.

Traditional ciders have always been a popular pick among consumers around this time of year, but with some finding it hard to let go of the summer, that’s where fruity ciders find their footing.

“Everyone benefits from this continued focus on cider and it’s great to see craft producers grow as well and bring more variety to the market.

“The big players dominate the space nationally with their varieties, and this lands with people and impacts their expectations of the category. It’s to be expected that this, therefore, represents where the volume of sales goes” he continued.

Katie Walker, Brand Manager at Aston Manor Cider, agrees that more people are open to trying new flavours since the ending of lockdown.

“Having a varied range of cider is essential; from good quality, mainstream ones such as Kingstone Press through to premium options like Friels Vintage cider. We find that Kingstone Press’s Wild Berry is often chosen by cider drinkers during both the summer and winter months as the wild berry flavour suits both times of the year”.

Katie highlights that one of the main reasons why consumers often opt for the flavoured variations of the traditional draught product is because there’s so much variety. She points out that fans tend to be younger; “Consumers of flavoured ciders are traditionally younger, who like to know the ingredients of what they’re drinking and see flavoured cider as an easy to drink beverage”.

The serve also impacts sales. Where it is usually served with ice in a glass and garnished with fresh fruits, this compliments the refreshing appearance of the drink – enticing more people to opt for the fruitier alternative.

“Flavoured cider is popular all year round, but it’s also particularly favoured in the winter months where it can be mulled, making it an alternative to mulled wine” Katie added.

“We chose to explore this market to offer drinkers popular cocktail flavours that are easy to drink without the high ABV of an actual cocktail. Our Friels cocktail-inspired flavoured ciders also make life easier for busy bartenders, who no longer need to go to the effort of making a full cocktail from scratch, yet they can be served just as nicely with glassware and fancy garnish”.

Hops, wheat and barley are at their prime this time of year with harvest festivals and orange skies debuting. It’s not just fruits and berries that tickle people’s tastebuds, but the cleanliness of your line is sure to leave a lasting impression – whether that’s good or bad.

Poorly kept beer lines can cause your draught products to not only lose their flavour, but their liveliness too. Additionally, bacteria can form and cause an unusual frothiness in your pints.

Five Points Brewing Cask Ambassador and Co Account Manager, Ed Davy, advises that following the manufacturers instructions can be the best springboard in keeping your lines well maintained; “lots of people have ‘their routine’ for line cleaning, and very often this doesn’t line up with how the manufacturer says the cleaner should be used. Follow their instructions to the letter, they know their product and how it should be used best.

“Doing things differently will either not clean the lines properly or, worse, damage them! Regularity – once a week minimum” he added.

Venues should flush their lines with water between barrels to keep the beers tasting fresh. This helps to keep the lines clear and clean in between proper cleanses and avoid that haziness that is visible in a pint from the bottom of the barrel.

Ed continues; “Switch off the remote chiller units the night before – beer line cleaners are not designed to be used below 0ºC, and chilling them in this way will reduce their effectiveness/freeze them in the line (only applies to keg)”.

 There are many benefits from having clean beer lines (other than the obvious). Consistently clean lines will ensure your beer tastes good. Fundamentally, your customers will be happy, and this will keep them coming back: “The best advertising any business can have is genuine word of mouth recommendations, money can’t buy those.

“So serve great beer, make your customers happy and watch them bring their friends in. Returning customers who bring their friends will, of course, increase the amount of money going into the till. Double down on this by reducing the amount of waste beer (i.e. money) going down the drain. Dirty lines fob, clean lines don’t” says Ed.

It’s not just the beer lines that need consideration when it comes to hygiene, but maintaining the quality of your glassware can improve the taste of your draught.  “Imperfectly clean glassware can have hidden problems that will undermine even the nicest beer, such as: residual oils/chemicals making the beer go flat, lose its head quickly and not produce lacing.

“A thoroughly cleaned glass will produce and retain a good head and lacing, generate a consistent stream of bubbles (keg mainly, cask in some specific circumstances) and (if the beer is clear) sparkle brilliantly in the light. Psychologically speaking, the better a drink looks, the better it tastes” explains Ed.

It won’t just be flavoured ciders that pull in the clientele this autumn. While the world turns their attention towards hygiene standards, it’s important that the hospitality industry continues to focus on ours and maintain the cleanliness of our beer lines and glassware, ensuring the safety and comfort of customers to keep them coming back.

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