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How to boost summer drinks sales by tapping into popular events

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The summer of 2022 has been long awaited by Brits who’ve missed out on many months of socialising with friends and family over the past two years. However, pub and bar operators shouldn’t take it for granted that their businesses will always be top of the list when it comes to customers choosing what to do on a warm summer’s day.

While consumers are more eager than ever to get out of their homes and gardens this year to make memories, with 70% saying experiences are now more important to them than possessions[1]​, operators must continue to make their venues more alluring with a series of fun and exciting events.

Give customers an irrefutable reason to visit your pub or bar and then suddenly, a backyard family barbecue with store bought coleslaw and questionable burgers becomes bottom of the list.  


From the Tour de France in the month of July to the Commonwealth Games at the backend of summer, 2022’s line-up of hot sporting events is rife with opportunities for outlets to tap into

Some 6.9m Brits will watch the Women’s Euros in a pub or bar this year[2]​, while 45% of publicans believe such events will play a bigger part in attracting more customers to their venues this summer[3]​.

Customers visiting the on-trade to indulge in major sporting events do so because they like to enjoy the atmosphere, drinks and also feel they can get a greater sense of the event through being surrounded by likeminded people[4]​.

Kick things off by:

  • Telling​ your customers through social media, email and POS that your venue is hosting special events around specific sporting occasions this year
  • Theming ​food and drink menus around particular events, such as French food and Champagne cocktails for the Tour de France; multi-national dishes for the Commonwealth Games; strawberries and cream with Pimm’s and R Whites Lemonade for Wimbledon; and of course, Pepsi Max as the sponsors of the UEFA Women’s Euros
  • Making it exclusive ​for customers so they feel more special by giving them the opportunity to book tables, booths and garden areas
  • Developing a tier ​of packages for customers to buy into, including drinks in ice buckets, simple food and snacks as well as add-on sales, such as unlimited soft drink refills for a set price
  • Ensuring everyone can watch the sport they’re there to see by setting up big-screen televisions​, projectors or adding more screens to your venue inside and out
  • Decorating ​the venue and garden so it is in keeping with the sports on offer. Consider flag bunting for international events, and free and tasteful fancy dress and props, such as bicycle glasses, for customers to wear during the Tour de France
  • Never miss an opportunity by including your brand ​on any assets such as “Instagrammable” backdrops, props and eye-catching food and drink serves. And it goes without saying these days, but write your pub’s social media handle and preferred hashtags wherever you can to cash in on free marketing

Top sporting events this summer (and beyond):

  • Wimbledon: 27 June – 10 July
  • Tour de France: 1-24 July
  • Silverstone Grand Prix: 1-3 July
  • UEFA Women’s Euro 2022: 6-31 July
  • British Open: 14-17 July
  • The Hundred Cricket: July-August
  • Commonwealth Games: 28 July – 8 August
  • FIFA World Cup: 21 November – 18 December


It’s known the world over that Brits need very little reason to go to the pub, but a quarter of customers said the temptation would be greater if a venue was offering live music or a music-themed event[5]​.

Other than putting on a regular live band or open-mic night on specific days, operators can go further by using music to compliment bigger events to create a well-rounded and memorable experience for their customers.

Tapping into tunes:

  • Add authenticity ​and flare to themes and events by hiring niche bands and performers to compliment the atmosphere
  • Create ​an event around a musical theme, such as Lazy Jazz in the Garden (International Jazz Day is on Saturday, 30th​ April). Venues with big, sunny gardens can set up deckchairs and parasols, allow bookings on picnic benches and also provide picnic banquettes and baskets to customers who want to enjoy a light and lazy day of music with food and nibbles
  • Go European ​with the Eurovision Song Contest finals on the evening of Saturday 14th​ May. Launch a ticketed event and encourage customers to dress up tastefully as their Eurovision heroes from years past; create a European menu that celebrates other cultures; offer a different style of cocktail or drink brand for each act performing; and crank up the karaoke at the end of the contest, giving a prize for the best performance
  • Pubs and bars situated near large concert ​venues can tap into the crowds that gather prior to seeing singers by creating pre-show food and drink menus that begin and end at set times
  • Tribute ​acts and bands can also be a good way to capitalise on the buzz of a popstar visiting a region or the UK in general

Seasonal food

Brits love drinking outdoors when the sun shines, whether enjoying a pint of cider or an ice-cold Pepsi MAX® with lots of ice and a slice of lemon.

But eating outside in the sun is also a favoured pastime that pub and bar venues can tap into to maximise revenues.


  • Create​ simple and light menu options specific to customers seated outdoors. A selection of salads, lighter burger options and skewered meats and vegetables are simple for staff to prepare and cook, while also being easy and light enough for customers to eat when it’s warm
  • Celebrate​ the wider range of bounty on offer during the summer by selecting produce from local suppliers and telling customers about it on menus
  • Barbecues ​offer a good opportunity for venues to sell more covers with less effort for the kitchen. It is also an event in itself that gives customers another reason to visit pubs and bars over staying at home


Wanting to socialise is a key reason to visit the on-trade, and so is a desire to try different drinks. When consumers are in outlet, they’re looking to trade up their choices and enjoy drinks they can’t replicate at home, like cocktails, mocktails and mixed long drinks.

Cocktails are worth £300m to the foodservice and licensed sector, with over 7.4m customers drinking from the category, a quarter of whom choose non-alcoholic or mocktails[6]​. When it comes to attracting customers to a cocktail or mocktail, flavour is the most important deciding factor followed by ingredients and then price[7]​.

Twist it up:

  • Create ​simple cocktail menus with drinks consisting of no more than three ingredients that can be served quickly by bar staff
  • Offer pitchers ​and teapot ​serves (or similar) for group occasions, encouraging sharing while also creating experiences
  • Tap into top-sellers​ such as passionfruit martinis, mojitos and the simple G&T, making sure they are advertised in prominent positions at the bar and on menus
  • Craft ​your own signature G&T serve and signature G&T menu by using local gins and garnishes, while serving with a choice of premium tonics to compliment such as London Essence

While customers want choice, they are also attracted to familiar serves, with 82% saying they find a twist on a classic cocktail appealing or very appealing[8]​. This summer, J2​O has given two of the most popular cocktails – the Passionfruit Martini and the Mojito – a J2​O Spritz twist to help operators not only tap into the growing demand for mixed drinks, but also consumers’ willingness to try something different.

J2​O Spritz Pink Mojito:


  1. J2​O Spritz Apple & Watermelon
  2. 50ml White Rum
  3. Juice of one lime
  4. Mint sprig and watermelon slice to garnish


  1. Fill a glass one-quarter full of ice
  2. Add in all the ingredients and stir
  3. Garnish with a sprig of mint and watermelon slice

J2​O Passion Fruit Cooler:


  1. J2​O Orange & Passion Fruit
  2. 50ml Vanilla Vodka
  3. Juice of one lemon
  4. Lime wedge and passion fruit half to garnish


  1. Fill a glass one-quarter full of ice
  2. Add all the ingredients and stir
  3. Garnish with the lime wedge and passion fruit half

Visit​ for advice, recipes and ideas on how to get creative with your soft drinks offering.


[2]​ KAM Media – Nationally representative sample of 500 UK adults – 24.04.21

[3]​ KAM Media – Nationally representative sample of 500 UK adults – 24.04.21

[4]​ KAM Media – Nationally representative sample of 500 UK adults – 24.04.21

[5]​ KAM Media Plan to Plate 2021 Report

[6]​ CGA Mixed Drinks Report Q3 2021

[7]​ CGA Mixed Drinks Report Q3 2021

[8]​ CGA Mixed Drinks Report Q3 2021

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