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Here in the UK we’ve been back in – sorry, outside – the bars for a few weeks now, and is it just me, or does it all feel strangely alien?
We kind of got used to the table service system last summer, that and being forced to order from a menu without being able to see any of the shiny products lined up behind the bar. But at that time, we could still remember what being in a pub was like – ordering at the bar was still fresh in our minds.
Now it feels like learning to ride a bike all over again. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to drink when I’m out and I tend to go for a bulk standard beer or gin and tonic, with no preference on brand.  I’m desperate for some inspiration. Give me a new spirit to try or an exotic cocktail creation. I want to buy with my eyes, but that’s hard to do when looking at a menu or an app.  I understand adding another complication to bars isn’t what they need right now with all the restrictions already in place, but overcompensating for the lack of visuals on the brands, and on the bartender creating their magic, is one step closer to bringing back the creativity of our wonderful drinks industry.
Venues that are doing this well have created exciting drinks menus alongside knowledgeable staff to make recommendations – a simple solution. But many are keeping it even simpler, and I personally think they’re missing a trick. We’ve all been forced to learn how to make our own drinks at home and some of us have got quite good at it, while saving some cash at the same time. So, inspire us with something new or different and give us something to tell our friends about and spend our money on. There’s a great opportunity right now for brands to support venues and get creative with brand messaging in the on-trade.
Now more than ever we want to be introduced to new products and try new things!
This article was written by Jaala Gallagher, Client Director.