Lucy Handley’s feature “Are you being served by thirst for innovation?” (MW 3 February) raised a valid point: it will be the brands that come up with new ways of serving drinks which will succeed.
As alcohol consumption in pubs and bars declines and more people drink at home, brands should view it as a challenge to innovate. There are two key factors to on-trade consumption that will trump off-trade every time: service and sociability.
Presentation is an enormous factor of enjoyment and perfecting service is notoriously difficult. It requires skill, temperature control and often specialised glassware or other paraphernalia that is expensive and involves detailed pre-planning which few of us have the time for.
Sociability is a huge draw too. Environment and company are big factors of enjoyment when drinking. Few of us ever really think our home cooked Pad Thai is as good as that served up in restaurants, so pubs and bars need not worry.
Supermarket availability and formats that promise authenticity can drive people to recreate out-of-home experiences, but convenience is the over-riding factor affecting behaviour in-home. Quality will inevitably be compromised and the experience is never truly recreated.
A tightening of the purse strings is to be expected in austere times. Brands should embrace increased home consumption and use it as an opportunity to drive on-trade innovation.
Managing director, 23red