Pubs Must do More to Engage Wine Drinkers According to First Crown Cellars Wine Report

Crown Cellars, the specialist wine and spirits division of Carlsberg UK, has launched its first Future of On-Trade Wine report.

Conducted with over 1,000 wine consumers and 500 on-trade outlets, country wide, the aim of the research is to uncover whether the on-trade is meeting customer expectations when it comes to wine, what is being done well and what areas can be improved upon.

Overwhelmingly the research has revealed that there are two very different groups of customers who have very different attitudes towards wine. These two groups are differentiated by generations: Millennials, or those born in the 80s – 00s and the rest.

Fundamentally they would both like more choice and help with navigating wine lists. Both groups would like to feel inspired and enthused to try new wines and underpinning all of this is a desire for quality, both in terms of the wine itself and the overall experience. How these needs are met, however, needs to be tailored in order to recruit millennials in to wine and engage and retain those over 30.

Millennials need to be inspired with a strong visual display in order to compete with other categories such as craft beers and ciders and would like to see simple, engaging descriptors on the wine list. Currently they don’t feel that there is enough guidance around taste and are being discouraged from exploring the category and diversifying. In contrast, over 30s feel more confident in their wine choices but they appreciate wine and food matching recommendations and are more likely to trade-up if encouraged to do so.

Overall, the research highlights that the trade has a more positive view of its wine offer than customers do. The biggest disparities are around range (countries and grape varieties), staff advice, temperature of wine and presentation. In all of these areas, the trade scored themselves much higher than consumers did. Indeed, 61% of the trade think that wine quality has improved in recent years compared to only 35% of customers.

Paul Waller, Director of Third Party Brands says “Wine in the on-trade has developed and evolved significantly in the last decade, but it is clear that there is still some way to go to catch up with other drinks categories and with customer expectations. When you consider that 41% of wet-led pubs still don’t have a wine list, and 28% of pubs don’t think that wine training is important, there is still work to be done. We are looking forward to using this research along with our experience and knowledge of wine trends to better advise and educate the trade.”

Additional research highlights:


  • 41% of wet-led pubs still don’t offer a wine list.
  • 61% of the trade think that wine quality has got better in recent years compared to just 35% of customers.
  • 39% of customers feel that their wine is not served cold enough.
  • Wine awards are underutilised in the on-trade. Medals are a key influencer of decision in the off-trade and this can easily be replicated in the on-trade by highlighting medals on the menu or on chalk boards.
  • A clear wine list with simple descriptors and staff training are essential to drive wine sales.
  • Customers want to see a good range of popular grape varieties at different price points that reflect what they are drinking at home.
  • Customers need to be encouraged to trade up. Offering a tiered range of the most popular grape varieties at different price points will help staff to encourage customers to trade up.
  • The importance of display is often overlooked. An eye-catching back-bar display, use of chalk boards, and prominent wine lists can increase wine sales.Research data:
  • Research date: September2015
  • On-line mirror survey conducted with 1014 wine drinkers and 516 owners and bar managers of licensed premises.1014 Wine Drinkers:
  • National country wide survey - 32% south, 34% midlands, 34% north
  • Cross section of wine drinkers - 45% male, 55% female516 owners and bar managers:
  • National country wide survey - 35% south, 39% midlands, 26% north
  • Cross section of ownership - 67% independent, 22% leased, 11% managed.
  • Data also drawn upon: CGA, Kantar Worldpanel, Future Foundation and data shared by Concha y Toro UK