The FWD Take Home Blueprint team is set to deliver further help and advice to the independent retail sector by expanding its current portfolio to include guidance on the growing premium bottled ales category.
Following requests by wholesalers to produce an educational programme for retailers about the ranging and displaying of premium bottled ales, scheme director Ross Shelley commenced the next steps by visiting Hall Woodhouse, a major supplier within the PBA market, at its brewery in Blandford St Mary, in Dorset.
Hall Woodhouse is the manufacturer behind the range of Badger ales including top sellers Fursty Ferret and Tanglefoot.
It was a chance for Ross to meet the team behind Hall Woodhouse including national sales manager Christopher Milton, senior account managers Lee Ellis and Steve May, and trade marketing manager Melinda Bowles.
Shelley explains: “It was important to meet the Hall Woodhouse team face to face and, from our side, explain the best-practice principles behind the Blueprint and to demonstrate the success retailers can achieve by following proved objective independent advice.
“It was also an opportunity for Hall Woodhouse to give the Blueprint team an insight into its philosophy and views on the future importance of the PBA category within the total market.”
Wholesalers already stock many PBA products which are not seen as competing with established mainstream beer brands but as lines which are meeting current consumer demand.
Wholesalers have noted that although market data from ACNielsen reports a decline of 3% in the total ale market, the premium bottled ale category is in growth by 5.7%.
Blueprint chairman Alan Toft says: “There is a strong evolutionary movement in the marketplace which wholesalers have recognised as one which is appropriate for educational guidance for the retailer.
“Planograms are not envisaged because the market is quite fragmented but there is a case – which everyone will accept – that some independent retailers have off-licence departments which can put on an improved offering to the consumer.
“This will include PBAs. It is important that we safeguard the integrity of the Blueprints – an integrity which is now our trademark.
“The Blueprint has always been based on encouraging the retailer to give their local community a store where the offering is comprehensive. If a shop is known as one which does not stock lines in demand then it will be ignored by some people who will go elsewhere for what they want.”
The Blueprint field team has noted and reported an increase in shelf presence of PBAs in the independent sector and has already received many requests for assistance in this category from independents.
The Blueprints are educational schemes designed to encourage the independent to pursue the highest levels of product selection and display. Launched in 1994, the initiative now covers ales, lagers and ciders, wines, spirits and fortified wines and ARTDs. The scheme is the only one in existence which guarantees increases in sales for independents who implement them.
l To contact the Blueprint Helpline call 0161 400 2770.