Some say that draught will never go away. There is and always will be a huge proportion of traditional beer and cider drinkers who simply want a pint.
But with so many new brands popping up, the bottle and can format is also popular – bars like to give consumers as much choice as possible, putting more niche/new brands and sub-categories of beer and cider in the fridge, and keeping the more mainstream/best sellers on tap.
And there is an argument to say that bottled/canned products are also fresher and healthier, because those formats bypass dirty, bacteria-ridden lines that can apparently exist in draught serves.
But beer and cider brewers know that the real volumes and profit lie in selling pints. Likewise, fridge space is limited, and bar and pub owners don’t usually want to stock bottles and cans for weeks on end that may or may not be purchased.
Old Mout Cider have recognised this, and now they’ve capitalised on a growing trend of premium flavoured ciders, traditionally sold in bottles only, but increasingly popular with consumers (market share of fruit cider has grown from around 0% to 30% over the past 10 years). Following a successful pilot of Old Mout Berries & Cherries on draught this summer, they’ve successfully been able to marry flavoured ciders and the preferred draught serve, resulting in putting a brand on tap that truly delivers for both bar owners and consumers.
My message to new beer and cider brands: if you believe in your product, and you are certain it delivers on consumer demand, go straight to keg/draught, or at least provide it as an option. Yes, it may be easier to sell a few bottles than a few kegs, but it’s easier to keg than bottle. For the latter you need labeling, bottling plants, hygiene tests, crating etc. And in the bar world where there is an ever-increasing focus on sustainability efforts, the bottle might well have a limited shelf life anyway, certainly against cans.
This article was written by Elty Dudley-Williams, Project Director