Diageo looks to raise retailers' spirits

UK drinks retailers are being given new advice from Diageo to generate more value from the sluggish spirits category.

Diageo says it has identified five drivers to attract new consumers to the spirits market, which Nielsen values at just over £2.7 billion at retail level. Sales rose 3% in the past year compared to 4% for the wider off-trade.

The drinks giant advises retailers to “build everyday relevance” by promoting spirits outside of traditional drinking occasions, though it also says stores should work harder on themed displays during the key selling times of Christmas and the summer.

Diageo is encouraging shops to stock brands alongside mixers and garnishes. It believes regular spirits drinkers can be encouraged to trade up to premium brands through initiatives such as its Single Malt Whisky Map, which gives people a simple way of choosing a single malt whisky based on flavour.

Finally, Diageo argues more profits can be made by emphasising the year-round gift potential of spirits.

Russell Jones, director of category development at Diageo GB, said: “Our research is already influencing many brand plans and category initiatives within Diageo GB and looking ahead we will really ramp up our investment in activity, which will allow retailers to capitalise on these opportunities.

“The five platforms for growth are aimed at different target markets and touch different brands across the spirits category – not just our brands. This gives retailers greater flexibility at implementation level. Our sales team will be working with customers to define which occasions are more predominant with their outlets’ core customer base and how to capitalise on the spirits opportunity to unlock further growth.”