Spirit, beer and cider sales on the rise after refresh

Diageo spirits

Sales of beers and spirits in Woodlands Local have risen over the last month, following a refresh of the two fixtures carried out with the help of Diageo, probably driven by both the refresh and some decent weather.

by Antony Begley

It’s been just over a month since we reworked the beers, ciders and RTDs fixture and the spirits fixture in Woodlands Local with the support of our partners Diageo and it has been massively heartening to see sales rises in both groups of categories.

At a top line level we saw very solid increases in sales over the previous month with spirits up 6.2% and beers, ciders and RTDs up 8.7%. Clearly, good weather in April will have contributed to the growth but there’s no doubt that having better-stocked fixtures with better ranges enabled us to capitalise on that good weather more effectively.

We’re particularly pleased with the rise in spirits sales, as spirits has long been a problem category for us. We’ve tried several different tactics including reducing prices and adding premium ranges but with very little effect.

However, having taken Diageo’s advice to add five premium and craft gins as well as a couple of premium Ciroc vodkas, as well as half bottles of Captain Morgan’s Spice, we seem to finally be making some headway.

Digging deeper into the data, around three-quarters of the increase in spirits sales came from more standard and value products like Glen’s Vodka and some blended whiskies, but we also started to see some traction with the new gins and vodkas. They’re not yet selling in volume, but we have sold half a dozen bottles of Ciroc and 17 bottles of premium and craft gin. To be fair, we didn’t expect to see overnight sales spikes because we reckon it will take a little time for our customers to realise that we stock these lines – and that’s reflected in the fact that of the 17 bottles of premium vodka and gin sold, 12 of those sales occurred in the second half of the month. The star performer was Gordon’s Pink Gin, which also attracted most feedback from shoppers.

We clearly hope that this is the start of a regular trend. and we see more and more premium shoppers each month.

We also sold some bottles of newly-added Drambuie and Southern Comfort, so we’ll see how they fare in future.

April's off-trade sales at Woodlands
  • Total spirits: up 6.2%
  • Total beer/cider: up 8.7%

In the beer fridge, we saw a chunky sales hike although this category was one that probably benefited most from patches of decent weather. Having said that, we were up on virtually all SKUs in the beer and cider category barring one or two. The lines on promotion did well, as usual, but most of the new lines added by Diageo got off to a very solid start.

Hop House took a little time to get going – not a single sale in the first week it was stocked! – but it came back from the dead in style, shifting seven 4-packs the following week, then nine the week after and 12 each week for the final two weeks of the Epos period covered.

Joker IPA, which we used to stock and was re-introduced by Diageo, was a runaway success. It sold from day one and we’ve now sold over 60 bottles in a month. Caesar Augustus was also a success with a total of 46 bottles and 17 4-packs.

The only one yet to catch fire is BrewDog’s Elvis Juice. We’ve sold just five units in a month. Possibly too exotic for our audience in Falkirk?

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