Heathwick in Trade

30/09/2016

The Lion and Lobster has always been a busy, fun, lively gastropub, renowned for serving restaurant quality food across all three floors. Their friendly staff and party atmosphere is appealing to a wide range of clientele. So why would a successful pub in the heart of Brighton & Hove look to update its beer offering?

The impact of trendsetting craft beer pubs opening across the city and beyond was starting to have an effect and the team at the Lion and Lobster were quick to pick up on it. Increasingly, the local competition had started to focus on the demand for craft beer. This in turn, resulted in a growing number of customers at the Lion and Lobster asking for more than the premium pilsners and real ales they currently offered.  Noticing this shift, Yianni Vasileou, General Manager at the Lion and Lobster, decided it was time to start embracing craft beer.

Consultation

Initial consultation between Heathwick and the management team took place early in 2016. Their main concerns were around ensuring that any change in the beer offering would not have a negative effect on their regular clientele. The retention of loyal customers was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. A goal was set to introduce a craft beer option, suitably priced and focused on increasing revenue, growing the customer base without losing any existing.   

After careful consideration, it was decided the Fordham range of beers from the American craft brewery located in Delaware, on the US eastern seaboard, would be best suited. The selection of brews are effective for introducing different styles of beer from your usual real ales, satisfying those looking for more flavour and complexity without being overly assertive. With ABVs of 5% and under, they are also accessible for those who are conscious of the alcohol strength.

Installation

Agreeing on an April install, everything at this juncture was handled by Heathwick’s technical team, installing two lines from Lion and Lobster’s existing cellar which supplied a split font on the ground floor bar.

Choosing the right beers

With Indian Pale Ale’s being the most popular beer in the craft beer category (contributing a majority 27% of all craft beer sales, Fordham Route 1 IPA was chosen for one of the lines. Truly American in its style and hop forward flavouring, it is cleverly brewed at a ‘sessionable’ 4.5% abv and is great for food pairing, particularly with spicy dishes.

Considerations for choosing a fitting beer for the second line were a) the time of year and b) the preferences of the current client base. With it being a cool spring and the cask ales a popular choice, the Fordham Copperhead Ale was the obvious fit. Being an Amber-style ale, the Copperhead works well as a cross-over for real ale drinkers. Keeping the same profile of a traditional bitter, it provides an extra lift with caramelised malts and greater density of hops. It feels even more luxurious when supped in front of a fire!

For venue’s considering a Heathwick installation, our tech team will work with the manager to ensure all elements of the installation are covered. Ongoing full technical support is also provided.

Training & Marketing

Having a craft beer option available is only part of the story; making sure everyone knows about it, is equally imperative.

Like all good restaurants, when the front-of-house is properly briefed on the dish, they are able to share this knowledge and the joy of good food with their customers. The same goes for specialty beer.

To ensure the Lion and Lobster team were not just confident in the beers they had chosen to offer, but genuinely excited by them, Heathwick conducted a Craft Beer Experience training session for the entire staff. Talking through the types of malts and hops used in the individual beers and what that brings out in terms of different flavours (whilst the team are tasting the beer for themselves) is one of the most engaging and enlightening ways to spread the enthusiasm. 

The training also provided an understanding of the craft beer market, general brewing knowledge, an overview on the beer styles and the value (and joy) of food pairing – particularly as the Lion and Lobster has such a great food offering.  

Additional staff support has been provided through regular incentives based on individual sales volume, mystery shopper checks and further training sessions for new staff.

Point of Sale (POS) support has been provided in the form of chalk boards, branded stemmed glassware, beer mats, wall tackers and bespoke menus. The menu option was created by Heathwick’s design team and include brief tasting notes, enabling customers to make an educated decision on which beer they wish to choose.

Heathwick has also worked with the Lion and Lobster on joint social media campaigns.

Development

Following the success of the first installation over a three month period, the management at the Lion and Lobster felt more confident in venturing further into the craft beer market. As Heathwick’s range of craft beers are from various UK and US breweries and provide huge scope, the next step involved installing a triple tap font. Two of these lines were assigned for Heathwick beers, whilst the third enabled the management of the pub to invite guest beers on a rotational basis.

Tontine Milk Stout and Dominion Grapefruit American Pale Ale currently occupy the two new regular Heathwick lines, both of which are proving popular with customers. Having taken the step towards selling a higher priced product whilst being able to retain their target GP, the increased revenue was welcomed by the pub management.

Advice on providing relevant and exciting beers throughout the year was part of the process. In the summer, the thirst quenching and light Fordham Gypsy Lager was a transition well received amongst the pub’s patrons.

Their strategy has been to continue a fresh offering and so Heathwick has remained in regular consultation with the management team at the Lion and Lobster. The latest change is to introduce an award winning IPA from another US craft brewery in place of Fordham Route 1 IPA. Saugatuck’s Backyard IPA is also 4.5% abv with a refreshing citrus burst that gives it a different profile to the Route 1.

Yianni and his team are keen to see how their customers react to the change and how they can benefit from rotating through the range of craft beer Heathwick has to offer.

Heathwick says:

It’s been great to work with a forward-looking pub like the Lion and Lobster who have recognised a trend and are open to trying new things. We understand the constraints of pub management and working with Yianni and his team to overcome them has been really rewarding. Seeing where they have come from to where they are now with the success of their craft beer approach is inspirational. We’re really looking forward to continuing our collaboration and trying out more of our beers on their four rotational lines.

Tim, Management Team at the Lion and Lobster says:

Our draught installations from the Heathwick range were an easy and cost effective way of providing a premium craft beer offering that covers all the main styles my customers have increasingly been asking for. Andy [Heathwick Account Manager] has been on call and provided the support promised, every step of the way 

Look out for the Heathwick Craft Beer Experience team hosting a consumer session at the Lion and Lobster this autumn, details will be announced via our Twitter page @HeathwickUK.

 

 

 



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