As key selling occasions go, Father’s Day is up there with the big ones. Here, Rachel Badham outlines what we can expect from the drinks industry.
Sunday June 19 is the UK’s annual Father’s Day; one of the biggest dates on the calendar for the off-trade.
“It is definitely one of the busiest times of year for Master of Malt”, says the online retailer’s head of brand, Giovana Petry, “second only to the Christmas/Black Friday period, which is a much longer activation.”
Following the drinks industry boom earlier this year on Mother’s Day, producers and retailers are now gearing up for Father’s Day by ramping up special-edition product offerings and creating seasonal gift packages.
“Father’s Day is all about aged spirits, from whisky to rum and everything in between, with a full-bodied red wine thrown in for good measure and maybe a case of beer”, says Dawn Davies MW, head of buying for The Whisky Exchange.
Edward Thornton, development director at Fells, notes “port, malt whisky and wine” as some of the most popular Father’s Day drinks. Gifting has played an important part in Fells’ retail offer over the past 30 years, accounting for approximately 15% of its business.
Whisky continues to be one of the most popular Father’s Day drinks, with Petry saying that the spirit is always the “biggest category in sales” for Master of Malt. However, other drinks categories are now creeping into the spotlight: “Rather unexpectedly, wine and premium rum both saw an uptick in last year’s campaign,” says Petry.
As rum sees a rise in popularity, Don Papa has created a Father’s Day inspired cocktail titled Papa Negroni, the recipe for which will be shared on the brand’s social media platforms and its website. It has been created using Don Papa Rum 7, which is distributed across the UK by Indie Brands and is available in retailers such as Sainsbury’s and Majestic.
According to founder Stephen Carroll, the brand is also due to release a special-edition rum canister to coincide with Father’s Day. A portion of each purchase will be donated to the Talarak Foundation conservation NGO.
For brands looking to maximise Father’s Day sales without “allocating space and effort to stocking bespoke products”, Fells’ Thornton recommends pushing popular product categories: “For us, Father’s Day is a relatively small event for bespoke gifting, but we do see some uplift in certain product types.”
When it comes to gift sets, Spirit of Yorkshire’s marketing director, Jenni Mellor, highlights the importance of providing undecided customers with a variety of options: “We find that our tasting experience sets always do well around Father’s Day. They have a choice of three in them and they are quite useful if someone’s not 100% sure what to buy for their father figure.”
MAKING THE MOST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
For retailers looking to maximise their Father’s Day activity, Master of Malt’s Petry suggests taking full advantage of social media to reach consumers. “Much of our focus will be on video content on our social channels, looking to catch the attention of those after a Father’s Day gift,” she says.
“While our Father’s Day Gift Finder is perfect for those who have an idea of what they want to buy, much of our focus will be on video content on our social channels, looking to entice those who perhaps weren’t already considering heading to Master of Malt for a Father’s Day gift, or aren’t sure what they’re looking for.”
Spirit of Yorkshire’s Mellor also attests to the benefits of social media when it comes to maximising Father’s Day trade, saying that brand-based organic content and Facebook advertising have proven successful in increasing direct sales.
In terms of merchandising for bricks-and-mortar retailers, The Whisky Exchange’s Davies recommends keeping displays bold and colourful with a strong theme.
“Larger volumes of stock always look better than lots of different products,” she says, “so pick some Father’s Day heroes and have those on show.”
To help customers decide on their gift of choice, Davies suggests offering tastings. “If you want to do tastings, consider the two weeks up to Father’s Day for any sampling sessions, and pick products you know will sell by considering what sold well in previous years. And of course, remember it is a present, so anything you can personalise for the customers will always sell well.”
The return of in-person trading following lockdowns also brings an opportunity for retailers to extend their Father’s Day offerings beyond gift sets.
Mellor says Spirit of Yorkshire’s Father’s Day tours and afternoon tea event “always goes down really well”, as post-pandemic customers crave the opportunity to offer an experience, rather than a physical gift.
From sampling sessions to social media campaigns, now is the time for retailers to ramp up their Father’s Day offerings.