When reopened hospitality means swift serving, limited handling and straightforward supply, could canned cocktails be the answer for every bar and restaurant owner?
That’s certainly the hope of Niche Cocktails, who inadvertently found themselves launching their new business just weeks before lockdown was enforced throughout the UK.
Having intended to focus its target at the hospitality arena, Niche was quick to pivot its planning and develop an online shop, in order to sell its three canned products direct to the thirsty consumer.
Since March, the small Suffolk-based entrepreneurial firm has been despatching its Blood Orange Old Fashioned, Manuka Honey Whisky Sour, and Matcha Mojito, to hundreds of homes where we’ve been mourning our pub outings and wishing for an easy ready-made fix.
But with bars, pubs, hotels and restaurants now getting set to welcome customers once again, Niche – the first UK company to produce canned shorts – is directly appealing to hospitality businesses to add their brand to the drinks menu.
Emily Mummery, Operations Director for Niche, says: “It’s been quite a time to launch a business – that’s for sure.
“As March 2020 arrived, we were all set to start for our full launch into the trade arena. We’d been chatting to pub and restaurant chains, had signed our first few clients, and were all ready with our point-of-sale items for busy footfall venues.
“Then, lockdown arrived. There was a momentary consideration around furloughing ourselves and ‘holding fire’ but then we realised what a huge growth in at-home consumption of alcohol was starting to be seen.”
Within just two days, the business transformed its website to create an online shop, whilst contacting family, friends, business contacts and networks, in order to establish some swift consumer sales.
The strategy worked well, and has seen Niche continue its momentum in developing its next two flavours – but now they’re turning their attention back to their original focus.
“We’re so proud of where we’ve got to in this period, but now we really want to start picking up the conversation with the pubs, bars and restaurants who might want to have our products on their post-lockdown listings,” continues Emily.
“What makes canned cocktails even better right now, is that these are easy-serve drinks with the same taste of combining all the original flavourings from multiple bottles, but created in just 30 seconds, straight from the can.
“This limits contact risks, but also increases speed of service – which is vital when venues are being told that they’ll not be able to have people queuing at a bar.”
Niche’s three current flavours are selling successfully at a price of £3.50-£4 retail, with an on-trade of between £6 and £10 per serve.
Paddy Bishopp, the company’s Commercial Director, says the team are mindful of the heartache and trauma that the hospitality sector has been through, and that they want to work alongside pubs and bars in an understanding way, to help them get back to their feet.
“This has been the most awful time for pubs and restaurants, so we want to ensure that role we play, as a supplier, is one that’s really considerate around supply processes and payment terms,” he says.
“We’re focused on wanting to have a flexible and supportive relationship with all those we supply, so I’m looking forward to hearing from venues about how best we can work with them to enable them to add our products to their offering.”