Food and wine pairing has long been a go-to method of upselling. But why limit the strategy to vino? Pernod Ricard UK’s new initiative, Food Glorious Food, aims to promote food and cocktail pairing as a method of driving sales for venues over the holidays.
’Tis the season for spirits
According to research from CGA, cocktails are now worth more than half a billion pounds – more than the value of champagne. Pernod sees these numbers as an opportunity to push premium spirits and continue raising the profile of the cocktail as the go-to celebratory drink.
For Food Glorious Food, the company worked with food scientist Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart to delve into the technicalities of food and cocktail matching, developing a flavour wheel and hero serves for seven of its key spirits: Absolut, Jameson, Beefeater, Beefeater Pink, Plymouth Gin, Monkey 47 and Havana Club.
‘Cocktails as a total category are now on offer in about one-third of outlets in the on-trade, so about 39,000 outlets and growing massively,’ said Mark Harris, Pernod Ricard UK’s on-trade channel director.
‘As mainstream accounts engage with cocktails, our challenge is how they can maintain their quality and get simple serves right.’
A hands-on approach
Pernod’s Brand Engagement and Ambassador Team (BEAT) is addressing this challenge by working directly with venues, using the initiative’s findings to train bar staff on food-friendly serves.
Nationwide chain Las Iguanas has already launched a food matching menu through the initiative, with more venues to come.
‘We've taken this to on-trade customers, saying you don't have to give up on cocktails with food. You don't have to just serve wine,’ said Daniel I’Anson, Pernod’s brand engagement manager.
‘You’ve got the option to be quite prescriptive and quite daring in what you serve to people. You can recommend a cocktail with a dish, and it doesn’t just have to be a black forest gateau and a cherry kirsch.’
Crucible founder Stuart Bale previously created smaller cocktails to pair with food, and gave his top tips for doing so to Imbibe.
All statistics from research conducted by CGA, courtesy of Pernod Ricard UK