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With his long experience in the licenced trade, Lou Stener is leading a team at Pelican to help hospitality businesses buy booze better

“Alcohol has historically been an emotive thing, perhaps based on longstanding personal relationships with suppliers. But there’s no reason why such arrangements should not be checked against their competitive position in the market. We feel we can support our clients, and give them the right information.”

“We have put together a team to work out the best way we can deliver alcohol to clients – and with the reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants, now is a good time to review drink sourcing provisions.”

“At the other end of the scale, we sometimes find a client has ended up with lots of different suppliers, in a bid to chase value – but that can demand a counterproductive volume of administration and management time.”

Five key trends

With the doors re-opened, hospitality operators are doing their best to maximise their profitability and cash margin. Lou has shared some of the latest trends he has seen in the sector. 

Customers choose premium

According to a recent CGA survey there has been a 12% annual increase in the value of premium mixed products, and spirits grew by 21% year-on-year. 

Most hospitality operators are reporting an increase in sales of premium brands as customers opt for more niche and premium products across wine, beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. Customers now see going out as a special occasion, and are willing to splash out a bit more – great news for operators as they are able to get a better gross profit percentage and cash margin. 

Here’s to gin

Gin is here to stay! A top selling product, it seems there are endless varieties of gin flavours in the market. Many operators are offering a wide range of mix options to deliver a more unique experience whilst slimming down the range of basic gins on offer.

Rose and sparkling wine

Many operators are working with a smaller list to provide a more focused experience for wine drinkers and create a theme that ties a menu together. With fewer options, staff are able to develop a stronger knowledge of the wine selection – and provide more insight and better recommendations for guests. Rose and Sparkling Wines are leading the way this summer. 

Clean drinking

Customers are more mindful about what they put in their bodies. Many are choosing to drink less, or opting out for low-alcohol or non-alcoholic alternatives, while there has also been a surge of health-boosting drinks. More and more curious and inventive brands are entering the market – such as Fungtn, which calls itself as the UK’s first ‘medicinal’ mushroom beer. Founded by mindful drinking consultant Zoe Henderson, the 0.5% ABV vegan and gluten free beer brand includes an IPA brewed with Lion’s Mane mushrooms; a Citra Beer brewed with Reishi mushrooms; and a lager brewed with Chaga mushrooms.

Brands with a story

Younger customers are keen to try products that have an interesting story behind the brand. Especially if the story showcases the journey of the product being produced, and particularly if it links to local provenance, sustainability and traceability.

Pelican is here to help

If you are looking to review your alcohol & beverage offering, we are here to help you. In the first instance, we will provide you with an independent impartial price review. We tender thousands of products throughout the year – so we have unrivalled visibility of prices on a weekly basis. Our team follow stringent benchmarking process and will compare your current prices across the market to reveal how much money you could be saving.

Our team is here to help you review your prices, looking for new suppliers or products – contact us at or call 01252 705214 – we would love to help! 

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