Drink Industry Trends 2018: Time To Plan Ahead

It’s a good time to plan ahead as the drink industry trends for 2018 start to take shape in the run-up to Christmas, so what will customers be looking for over the next 12 months?

The Waitrose Food & Drink Report is one of the main areas of insight, and this predicts some important regional differences, as Scotland sees an increasing focus on locally brewed beverages while Wales has a growing thirst for detailed knowledge about wine.

Different drinks categories are also blurring the boundaries, with ale casks used by Glenfiddich to add a hint of hops to their whisky, and if this continues throughout 2018, the next big trend in fusion food could actually be drinks.

Repeat custom is crucial

If you’re still looking to capitalise on festive trade, industry analysts CGA recently put out a trend report that should be on your reading list in the run-up to Christmas.

This predicted that, like in 2016, the coming holiday period will see fewer people go out to eat and drink; but those who do go out will do so more often and spend more.

Repeat custom is crucial in this climate, so make sure your premises are a fully fledged entertainment destination complete with gaming machines, pool tables and juke boxes to keep customers interested.

Premium picks

Looking long-term, CGA have also found a trend towards premium products among British consumers, so those high-priced brands should sell well in 2018.

This applies not only to spirits, but also to beers, where craft ales and other premium beverages continue to gain ground.

The end of ‘ice and a slice’?

The Morning Advertiser recently reported on another premium trend – the tendency towards more specific garnishes and mixers in gin and tonic.

As more premium brand-name gins appear behind the bar even in local boozers, customers are increasingly expecting the right garnish to go with it, whether that means juniper berries, mint, grapefruit or cucumber.

It’s a challenge for operators to keep on top of a larger number of perishable ingredients, but it’s also an opportunity to justify premium-rate pricing on an otherwise simple G&T.

Brand-name mixers like Fever-Tree tonic complete the offering, taking the trend beyond the simple question of slimline or full-fat tonic.

It’s not only G&T that’s seeing increased customisation, as champagne and prosecco cocktails are also on an inexorable rise – and for many customers a glass of fizz is now incomplete unless there’s a shot of something fruity in the bottom of the flute.


How to maximise the appeal of your pub

According to a new YouGov poll of 2,000 house hunters on behalf of property website TheHouseShop.com, 1 in 4 people want their new home to be within a 15-minute walk away of a good pub. They were happy for banks, schools and churches to be further away.

For landlords, this survey confirms how important pubs are to communities and it also highlights how important it is to attract people who have just moved into your area to your pub. After all, you want them to become regulars at your pub and not at a competitor’s down the road.

Judging a book by its cover

The outside of your pub is very important as you want to impress people, whether they’re driving or walking past. Make sure your outside space is clean and tidy at all times. It needs to be well-light, with smoking shelters and heaters. If your paintwork is looking drab, now is the time to consider repainting. Posters should be fresh and appealing, enticing people in with special offers and meal deals.

Consider your drinks range

Do you offer anything other pubs in your area don’t? For instance, do you have new speciality beers every month or hold craft beer events? Why not see if your current regulars have got any recommendations.

What entertainment do you offer?

As well as offering a wide selection of drink and food, you need to think about installing a pool table if you don’t have one already. They can be hired from Manco Automatics for a very reasonable price. Every time they’re used, you’ll be earning extra money and if you hold regular pool competitions you could create a real buzz in your local area.

A digital juke box is another way of generating extra income and drawing people in. Having the latest songs available (as well as classic tracks) will mean that every kind of music lover is catered for. Fans of pub quizzes will love playing on quiz machines and fruit machines might be something you want to consider too.

At the end of the day, you want your pub to offer the whole package so that it’s at the forefront of people’s minds next time they want to meet up with friends or enjoy a night out.


Gaming machines keep Canterbury students entertained

Gaming machines are among the selling points for what have been described as Canterbury’s “ten cheapest pubs” for local students from Canterbury Christchurch and the University of Kent.

The Canterbury Times posted its shortlist of ten of the best earlier this month, giving local academics more pint for their pence.

Understandably for students, price came first on the wish list – “paying over £4 for a pint just isn’t viable if you are a student” – followed by atmosphere, and finally the product range.

Top of the list at number one was New Inn, at 19 Havelock Street, described as “Canterbury’s best all-round pub”.

New Inn gained praise for its beer garden and board games, its quiz machine, its beer festival in late May, and its fine selection of beers on tap.

The suggestion is a valuable reminder of how quiz machines and other gaming machines are welcome even in areas where the price of beer itself must be kept low to serve the local market.

With quiz machine hire, pubs especially in student areas could benefit from a lucrative additional income stream, without pricing themselves out of the market on the pumps.

The next generation of gaming machine hire


As customer tastes change, slot machine hire keeps pace with the demands of the market – and sometimes that hurts, like when we had to decommission a Bar 7 slot machine in Preston last month after many years of faithful service.

But times march on. An Associated Press report recently noted how generational gaps can mean different players want different things from gaming machines.

For older players, traditional slot machine hire – press a button to spin the reels – is often enough, but younger players seem to be looking for more. This has lead to the introduction of video gaming machines where the variety of games is almost limitless.

The introduction of video gaming machines has lead to some interesting developments across the pond, where America has created games where the player wins the right to play through their own skill, but their chance of winning is still random.

For example, you might have to complete a challenge, or answer a question correctly, to earn the right to roll a virtual dice, spin a wheel, or play a conventional slot machine governed by chance.

The AP adds that reaching both generations is also possible in traditional slot machines, where rather than changing the gameplay, the game itself is simply themed around a movie or comicbook franchise that appeals to younger players. In that regard, I think the Americans are way behind the times. How many popular culture themed UK games can you think of? Here’s a few to get you started:- Aliens, Star Wars, Dr Who, Coronation Street, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and of course, Deal Or No Deal.

In either instance, it’s a reminder of how gaming machine manufacturers are always ahead of the curve – making sure that each new machine continues to attract players of all ages to put their coin in the slot.

Growth in Machine Games Duty shows value of game machine hire


Gaming machine hire is a way for venue owners and managers to tap into a multimillion pound market, particularly during the summer months.

The latest Betting, Gaming & Lottery Duty Bulletin, published by HMRC and the ONS, shows tax receipts up to and including June 2014.

In that month alone, £15 million was collected in Machine Games Duty, a relatively new tax that replaced Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD) in February 2013.

For the three months up to and including June 2014, £44.2 million in duty was collected by HMRC.

Compared with the previous quarter’s £29.2 million, this is a sequential growth rate of around 50% – and seasonal effects are partly responsible.

For example, under the previous AMLD system, some operators would apply for a short-term licence to allow them to run gaming machines only during the short summer holiday season.

If you have an indoor venue though, game machine hire is a way to make sure you are providing gaming machines to your customers all year round.

This can help you to tap into a growing and lucrative market, which in turn makes a substantial contribution to the nation’s economic stability.

Manco Automatics Ltd