Research to boost whisky sales

First Drinks has devised a strategy to transform the way whisky is sold in the off-trade, following a three-year research programme.

The company is encouraging retailers to use “reassuring methods”, such as displaying shelf barkers highlighting awards, and to stock smaller bottle sizes at an affordable price.

It said initial trials, where First Drinks worked with retailers on developing their whisky aisle, saw up to 20% sales uplift.

“Our research has shown whisky needs demystifying, particularly in the malt category, to make the sector more accessible to consumers,” said First Drinks sales director John Hyman.

He added: “Our studies have revealed the importance of shopper interaction via correct positioning and signposting at fixture hotspots, along with organising the range by flavour profile, improving brand visibility and standout on shelf.”?Retailers working with First Drinks on its malt strategy now put educational strips on shelves, which have been split into four flavour profiles, ranging from light and floral to peaty and smoky.

Hyman said the research also revealed consumers are not willing to trade down when shopping for alcohol in the economic downturn.

Gifting is also said to be increasingly profitable, with birthdays representing a bigger opportunity for purchasing than Christmas.