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Freshers Week is Back!

Smirnoff Raspberry Soda Drinks (2)

Sponsored post in partnership with Diageo GB.

Students return weeks are a significant opportunity to drive sales. Pre-pandemic* nearly a quarter (22%)1 of students visited their local pub, bar or nightclub over that period, so outlets need to be prepared to capitalise on this influx of trade.

Students visit the on-trade more but spend slightly less than the average consumer, so it is worth making sure you have an excellent range to cater to their budget1. Venues can do this by offering mainstream price tier brands, and good value serves. The main driver of student outlet choice is drinks promotions, so outlets should consider laying on promotions to drive footfall1. Always encourage drinking responsibly.

Categories to watch 

Popular categories during students return week are Cider, Beer and Spirits2. All cider sub-categories (apple, pear, other fruits) see an uplift2, and within Beer, standard lager and world lager see the biggest uplift2. Across Spirits, Gin, Rum and Specialties see the biggest uplifts2. Specifically, premium gin and rum brands see a greater uplift than mainstream options, so make sure you also offer a trade-up option for those who wish to upgrade their drink alongside your core range2.

Cocktails, of course!

Cocktails are also popular with students. More than 1 in 21 cite they chose cocktails during the students return week, so venues should be looking to include the most popular cocktails on their menu. In GB the top 3 cocktails are the Pornstar Martini, Sex on the Beach and the Mojito, whilst sparkling cocktail serves are also seeing plenty of growth3.

Getting social

Once you’ve sorted your ranging and drinks offers, you should ensure you are communicating with students to drive your footfall. Social media is key to communicating with students as nearly 1/3 of students said that social media has increased their awareness of retail brands1, so make sure you are posting regularly about your outlet and brands on the top social media platforms.


  1. CGA BrandTrack February 2020
  2. CGA OPMS Data to 28.12.2019
  3. CGA Mixed Drinks Report Q1 2021

*Please note Sources 1 and 2 are based on pre-pandemic data.

About the author

Bethan Jones

Bethan is Customer Category Manager at Diageo; bringing data to life to create insight and recommendations to grow the adult drinks categories in the GB On-Trade.

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