Fever pitch!

Football player

Scotland’s success in reaching the Euro Finals 24 in Germany this month is as welcome as it is rare and it brings with it an endless series of opportunities for retailers to maximise footfall and sales.

By Antony Begley

Scotland Matches
  • Friday 14 June
    Germany v SCOTLAND – 8pm
  • Wednesday 19 June
    SCOTLAND v Switzerland – 8pm
  • Sunday 23 June
    SCOTLAND v Hungary – 8pm

This summer has the makings of a belter for retailers across Scotland, particularly if the sun manages to make an occasional appearance, but what is most likely to drive footfall and sales is a packed calendar of amazing sport. From the Champions League Final to the Olympics, there’s a back-to-back calendar of top-class sport to drive shoppers to your door more often.

The undoubted key opportunity, however, is the Euro Finals 24 with Scotland lining up to take their place alongside the elite of European football. Taking place between 14 June and 14 July in Germany, it almost literally offers daily opportunities for retailers to grow sales in virtually every category.

I’m old enough to remember the days when Scotland routinely qualified for every Euros and World Cup Finals without much fuss, but those days are long gone. Fortunately, Steve Clark has been managing to get a tune out of the national team over the last few years and it’s fantastic to see Scotland back competing at the top table.

To add a little extra tartan spice, we’ll be helping to kick the whole tournament off by facing hosts Germany in the opening match on Friday 14 June. Our chances of success on the pitch may be modest, but our chances of scoring off the pitch in stores across Scotland are enormous.

Of course, about half the population of Scotland will probably be over in Germany giving it plenty, but that leaves the other half here – and you can be sure they’ll be stocking up for a Big Night In the likes of which you’ve never seen before.

With a guaranteed minimum of three Scotland games in the tournament, there will be three epic opportunities for retailers to cash in. And who knows, if the miracle does happen and we make it through to the latter stages, the frenzy will reach fever pitch.

One word of mild warning: the middle game against Switzerland takes place on the night of the SLR Awards. Bad planning on UEFA’s part, if you ask me, but we’ll make the best of it and ensure that Awards attendees are kept up to date on the night.

And while the three Scotland matches are guaranteed bangers in terms of sales opportunities, there are plenty of other games that will have fans gathered around the telly with a table full of beer, cider, wine, snacks, soft drinks and more. Every England game, for example, is likely to be popular with Scotland fans, though possibly not for the most admirable of reasons, plus there’s a host of mouth-watering top-notch clashes featuring star teams like France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Netherlands.

The effects of the cost-of-living crisis may be on the wane but they’re clearly still being felt by many customers. That may play into retailers’ hands with many choosing to watch the matches at home with family and friends, rather than venturing out to the pub.

Indeed, the monthly Barclaycard Consumer Spending Report for April, which combines hundreds of millions of customer transactions with consumer research, shows that almost half (49%) of shoppers are concerned about how much money they spend on food and drink. They are managing that challenge by reducing discretionary spending, with more than half of respondents (54%) saying they were cutting back on visits to pubs and restaurants.

Whether they will be tempted to sling the domestic budget out the window for the Euro Finals remains to be seen but it looks certain that it will be game on for retailers when that whistle blows on 14 June.


There’s little doubt that alcohol will feature prominently and near the top of the shopping list of customers getting ready for the big games and that will mean ensuring that your beers, wines and spirits range is on point and your availability is secure.

Let’s just assume that you’ve already got your big brand options in place, and consider some other options that you may have overlooked when it comes to building a range that will drive some additional spend.

Adding some fresh excitement to your range in addition to the beer and cider favoured by traditional football fans could help encourage a wider demographic of customers to join the pre- and post-match shenanigans.

RTDs is definitely an opportunity that deserves a closer look and could help bring a wider audience to the Euros party.

Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), says: “With Uefa Euro 2024 almost upon us, there will be plenty of people gathering together to watch the big games at home. For retailers, that means more opportunities to generate sales.

“Alcoholic ready-to-drinks (ARTDs) offer a convenient solution for those seeking a hassle-free drink that guarantees a perfect serve every time. Our Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola RTD is a fan favourite, generating nearly £27m worth of sales since launch back in March 2023 [Nielsen, Dec 2023], and is a must stock for retailers.

Jack Daniel's and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar

“We have recently updated the packaging design for Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, to clearly set it apart from the Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola Original Taste variant and tap into the opportunity for zero sugar options.

“We have also added to our ARTD portfolio with Absolut Vodka & Sprite which blends the smoothness of premium vodka, Absolut, with the loved lemon-lime soft drink, Sprite, offering a refreshing serve, perfect for enjoying during this summer’s biggest events like the Euro 24 Finals.”

As Burgess rightly points out, RTDs are growing fast. They are, in fact, the fastest-growing category in Beers, Wines and Spirits, and offer a great way of appealing to a wide range of customers in different demographics from the stereotypical football fan.

And as well as CCEP’s new RTD lines, there’s a wave of exciting new products to get behind.

Key among them is Four Loko, managed in Scotland by Red Star Brands. Marketing Manager Stacey Caldwell comments: “Four Loko, a leading US brand, is one of the fastest-growing RTD brands in the UK convenience category adding £7.4m value growth [L52wks to 18 Feb 2024]. It is the number-five RTD brand in total GB convenience and number-two RTD brand in Scotland, despite only having launched in 2021.

Four Loko range

“Four Loko already holds 7% value share of the convenience market and has the number one fastest-selling SKU – Four Loko White (440ml) – as well as eight of the top 13 fastest-selling SKUs.”

The full range features nine different flavours with an 8.4% ABV (440ml cans), including the recently launched dark Berry Burst variant.

To continue that momentum, Red Star Brands has just announced a £1.5m investment in trade and consumer activation for the Four Loko brand, featuring sponsorship of a trio of summer festivals this year, including Trnsmt in Glasgow Green. The three-day music festival culminates, as luck would have it, on Sunday 14 July with Calvin Harris belting out some bangers on the day of the Euros Final.

And who knows… if Carlsberg made finals, it would be Scotland v England that day with a controversial scrappy 90th minute goal from Scott McTominay to claim the trophy. A man can dream.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth, Caldwell adds: “Four Loko found its home at music festivals so we are very excited to announce that the brand is a key sponsor at three of the biggest UK music festivals. As we defy convention with our products, we are always looking to create unforgettable experiences and drive trial to our consumer base.

“Convenience stores continue to drive the growth of the RTD category in the UK, which is why it is important for us to reward our partner retailers that go the extra mile.”

The £1.5m investment aims to drive core and category visibility with activations, disruptive POS, category signage in the off-trade arena, social media, digital executions online, and campaign-led influencer programmes across the summer.

Bring the sunshine

With Magnum Tonic Wine proving a surprise hit in the local retailing channel, it might be an opportune moment to consider bringing some more tropical sunshine to the Euros party for your customers by trying some innovative lines from Wha Gwan.

Launched in 2021, the Caribbean-inspired Rum Tonic RTD range was created by David Mills who drew on his Jamaican roots to develop a range that he says is “packed full of tropical flavour and soul” and will disrupt the drinks market.

And if you’re wondering, ‘Wha Gwan’ means ‘what’s going on?’ in Jamaican patois, a widely used terminology that Mills believes helps build bonds between people.

Wha Gwan says its bold, unique character and tropical flavours like Melon Cherry and Pineapple & Coconut makes these drinks perfect for adding a tropical twist to a party or a Big Night In.

Wha Gwan’s signature drink is the 17.2% Wha Gwan Melon Cherry Rum Tonic but the range has been expanded in the last couple of years and now includes new options like Pineapple & Coconut Rum Tonic, Wha Gwan Bomb, Melon Cherry Shoot It and Pineapple & Coconut Shoot It. Full of Caribbean flavour and energy, the range fuses the two to create drinks that “people can party with”. And, as we know, Scots love to party – win, lose or draw.

The signature original Melon Cherry Rum Tonic (RSP £3.99) is a blend of melon cherry and rum, “loaded with vitamins”, and available in a 200ml bottle. The similarly priced Pineapple & Coconut Rum Tonic is a mix of pineapple, coconut and rum, making it the perfect base for many cocktails as well as great on its own.

Wha Gwan

The Wha Gwan Bomb (RSP £3) is a twist on the original Melon Cherry Rum Tonic, mixed with Rum Clxxt, delivering all the same taste but at a more sessionable 8% ABV. It’s best served chilled from the fridge as a refreshing cooler.

Meanwhile, the Wha Gwan Shoot It mini-range (£13.99) features two variants of rum-based tonic shooters that pack a punch at 21% ABV. Available in Melon Cherry or Pineapple & Coconut flavours, they’re ideal straight or as a base for cocktails or mixed with fresh fruit juices over ice.

More recently, the brand has launched a plant-based Wha Gwan No Moo Rum Cream, also available in 200ml bottles with an ABV of 17%. The new addition sits in a trio of bottles with the Melon Cherry Rum Tonic and the Pineapple Coconut Rum Tonic, each one having a different colour lid to signify the red, yellow and green in the Wha Gwan branding.

The dairy-free variant offers a new way to appeal to a growing audience and combines creamy textures with the taste and punch of rum.

Founder David Mills, says: “Embarking on this journey with No Moo Rum Cream, we’ve blended innovation with island heritage, creating a product that’s truly exciting to consumers. Our green cap is the third and final product completing the Wha Gwan colour of the Red, Yellow and Green inline with our brand label design and signifying its plant-based credentials.”

Finally, Wha Gwan has launched another innovative new line. Glidin is a Glera sparkling wine infused with its original Melon & Cherry Rum Tonic. The new 8% ABV addition carries an RSP of £2.99 to £3.99 and comes in 330ml bottles, making it an exciting new RTD option for customers.

Mills concludes: “We’ve been working on Glidin for over a year, so we’re extremely excited for the market to get their hands on it and see something a bit different from Wha Gwan. We decided to think outside of the box with the aim of making something special which is how we came about bottling Glidin in a bottle that is usually associated with beer.

“We understand that times are hard in the market overall throughout the country, and as a brand we are doing our best in providing the market with a different angle and exciting products to entice customers into independent retail stores.”

Think big

And while innovative new products can help generate a buzz around the Euros, there’s definitely role to play for the big brand RTDs that customers trust and are familiar with.

Lauren Priestley, Head of Category Development Off Trade at Diageo GB, says: “RTDs continue to present a unique opportunity for retailers. Not only do RTDs provide a convenient option, but they offer consumers high-quality mixed drinks. To make the most of the opportunity the category presents, we suggest stocking RTDs from well-known brands, such as Pimm’s and Lemonade RTD (5.4% ABV), Smirnoff Mango & Passionfruit Twist premix RTD (4.5% ABV), Gordon’s Premium Pink Gin and Lemonade (5% ABV) and Captain Morgan Strawberry Daiquiri (5% ABV).

“More and more brands are also launching their own mixed, premix and cocktail RTDs which is great to see. We know that the cocktail-at-home trend is still of interest to consumers, with premium cocktails accelerating the growth by 82%. For the less experienced at-home bartender who wants to enjoy a high-quality serve, creating bar-quality serves can be challenging. In response to this, Diageo has launched a raft of new RTD innovations, including recently launched Cîroc Passion and Cîroc Summer Citrus RTDs, as well as The Cocktail Collection, a trio of bottled premium cocktails.

“Serves available within The Cocktail Collection include Johnnie Walker Old Fashioned cocktail (17.5% ABV), Tanqueray Negroni cocktail (15% ABV), and Cîroc Cosmopolitan cocktail (17.5% ABV) and are designed to be poured straight from the bottle or can to make premium spirits even more accessible. These RTD premium cocktails lend themselves perfectly to sharing, hosting and social occasions with each bottle containing five serves.”

With Scotland hitting the spotlight this month, home-grown brands are also likely to be popular with customers. James Middleton, National Account Director at Loch Lomond Group, says: “As Scotland’s national football team head to the Euros, the tone is set for retailers in terms of customer demand, and it’s important that off-trade makes the most of this immense opportunity to maximise sales.

“We expect to see an increase in appetite for accessible, quality drinks at affordable prices to bring along to match-day events and viewing parties, or even to enjoy while watching from the comfort of their own home so RTD options will very much be on the menu and brands which align themselves with sport will draw most appeal.”

Glen’s Vodka has forged fresh relevance with both loyal consumers and those new to the brand over recent years with a series of impactful partnerships – like that with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) – which put Glen’s ‘front of mind’ in terms of category purchasing decisions.

“To make the most of this summer, and (with a bit of luck) the good weather, we would encourage retailers to offer consumers a variety of chilled, pre-mixed RTD products like Glen’s Vodka with Pink Lemonade and Glen’s Vodka with Cola,” advises Middleton. “These simple, refreshing serves offer consumers bar-quality long drinks at an affordable price, making them the ideal choice for sport fans this summer.

“Selling RTD cans in single pack format at a competitive price point gives customers choice, catering to different needs and tastes. Our RTDs are a great example of this – offering customers the chance to try without committing to a multipack purchase, and then allowing them to come back to select the flavour best suited to them.”

Grape idea

Echo Falls Watermelon & Kiwi Fruit Fusion

Another way to broaden the appeal of the Euros to a wider audience of Big Night In participants is through RTD wine options.

Tom Smith, Marketing Director – Europe, at Accolade Wines says: “This February, Echo Falls, the UK’s number one flavoured wine brand, launched a fresh, fruity flavour – Watermelon and Kiwi Fruit Fusion.

“With a 9% ABV, the new launch will appeal to a young consumer demographic as it taps into a demand for RTD cocktails and sweet ciders in a bid to lure existing consumers of these popular products towards fruit wines.”

Whatever way you look at it, the next month or so is set to be packed full of excitement and disappointment for fans but one thing is for sure: there’ll be parties galore across Scotland and that’s a massive opportunity for retailers to leverage the massive and increasing appeal of the latest wave of RTD options available.

Euro Finals 24: Key Matches
  • Friday 14 June
    Opening Match
    Germany v SCOTLAND – 8pm
  • Sunday 16 June
    Serbia v ENGLAND – 8pm
  • Wednesday 19 June
    SCOTLAND v Switzerland – 8pm
  • Thursday 20 June
    Denmark v ENGLAND – 5pm
  • Sunday 23 June
    SCOTLAND v Hungary – 8pm
  • Tuesday 25 June
    ENGLAND v Slovenia – 8pm
  • Saturday 29 June
    Round of 16 Matches – 5pm and 8pm
  • Sunday 30 June
    Round of 16 Matches – 5pm and 8pm
  • Monday 1 July
    Round of 16 Matches – 5pm and 8pm
  • Tuesday 2 July
    Round of 16 Matches – 5pm and 8pm
  • Friday 5 July
    Quarter Finals – 5pm and 8pm
  • Saturday 6 July
    Quarter Finals – 5pm and 8pm
  • Tuesday 9 July
    Semi Final – 8pm
  • Wednesday 10 July
    Semi Final – 8pm
  • Sunday 14 July
    Final – 8pm
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This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.