Managed pub and bar operator TCG is reaping the rewards of a bold decision earlier this summer to reposition its Via bar on London’s West India Quay as a Continental-style beer café. Following a partnership with Czech beer brand Kozel, footfall to the bar has grown exponentially and draught beer sales since relaunch in late May are up by 82% on the same six weeks last year.
Key to the project was the transformation of Via’s sizeable outdoor area into a lively beer garden, with Kozel-branded bar, new tables, benches and umbrellas and, at the entrance, an imposing arch replicating the one at the Kozel brewery in Velké Popovice. The result is much-improved visibility for Via, which now stands out from the row of bars on West India Quay.
Sales of Kozel, the ‘easy-drinking, flavoursome Czech beer’ distributed by Miller Brands, have rocketed in Via since May, with its share of draught beer volumes at the site growing from 22% to 48%.
At the same time, the menu has been redesigned to include a range of dishes such as Ham Hock and Belly Pork, infused with Kozel and herbs and spices found in traditional Czech cuisine and served with ‘Czechslaw’ and potato salad. The new menu was kick-started with the Kozel beer truck parked outside the bar to serve food during launch week.
TCG chief operating officer Nigel Wright said, “We’re delighted with the final result at Via. Customers in and around West India Quay were ready for something a bit different to the existing venues, and we’ve clearly created a new offer with strong appeal.
“We’re grateful to Kozel for supporting our vision for Via as a beer café. The brand’s image is a perfect fit for the traditional, stripped-down feel we wanted for the site and they have been responsive and flexible partners in the project.”
Andy Box, brand manager for Kozel, said, “By improving the external visibility of Kozel and the bar itself at Via West India Quay, we have been able to encourage consumers to trade up and tap into the increasing trend for World Beers, which are 9.7% ahead of total draught lager by value.*
“Kozel is a perfect entry into World Beer and represents a real opportunity for retailers like Via, who have used the partnership to increase the value of their draught category. By working closely with TCG at an operational level we have been able to quickly increase footfall to the site over the summer months.”
General manager at Via, John Hogan, said, “The new style Via has exceeded all our expectations. Customers can see the Kozel arch and umbrellas from Canary Wharf, so we’re now far more visible, and that’s translating into plenty more customers. The outdoor area is buzzing day and night with people enjoying a pint of Kozel and a Czech meal in our relaxed beer garden.“
*CGA Strategy On-Trade MAT to 22/03/2014
Attached image: the Via West India Quay team with the Kozel beer truck
Notes to editors
TCG operates a diverse estate of 69 managed pubs and bars nationwide.
The business has a strong foothold in London, with high-profile sites such as the flagship Tattershall Castle floating bar and restaurant on the Embankment.
· The estate stretches across the country from Aberdeen to Newquay, and from Cardiff to Norwich. It includes late night bars, community and sports locals, student venues and quality town centre pubs, as well as a number of trading formats, such as the Henry’s Café Bar brand, Eerie Pubs and the King’s Feast food concept.
Kozel has been brewed to České Pivo brewing standards since 1874 in the village of Velké Popovice, using only the finest natural Czech ingredients to deliver an easy-drinking, flavoursome 4% ABV beer.
Brewed with Premiant hops from the Žatec region, its profile is not as strong as other Czech varieties, producing a pleasant aroma with a more balanced bitterness.
Czech Pilsner and Czech Caramel malt also combine to achieve Kozel’s richer colour and fuller flavour along with ‘soft’ water drawn from forest spring wells surrounding the brewery which lends itself perfectly to lighter lagers.
· Miller Brands is the UK and Ireland subsidiary of SABMiller, one of the world’s largest brewers. Miller Brands has responsibility for the development of SABMiller’s international premium brands across the UK and Ireland; these include Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Miller Genuine Draft. Through its consistent pricing and distribution discipline, supplemented by engaging marketing activities, Miller Brands is bringing value back into the beer category. More information can be found at www.millerbrands.co.uk
Issued on behalf of: TCG
By: ShielPorter Communications
Further information: Ros Shiel: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07841 694137
John Porter: email@example.com / 07734 054389