Rugby, in both disciplines, is one of the UK's biggest and most followed sports. 20% of consumers watch Rugby Union in the trade, with a further 10% enjoying Rugby League when out.

With many people choosing to stay in with big screen TV’s at home and visiting the supermarkets with their ongoing alcohol offers, it is tougher than ever to entice customers out to watch live sport. Ensuring you have the right plans, products and activities will help drive those customers through the door and make their visit a profitable one for your outlet.

Data from MatchPint suggests Rugby fans are the most lavish spenders in the On-Trade when watching sport and this Autumn offers a bumper selection of big matches. During the fixtures, those 80 minutes are going to be the busiest and most exciting for both you and your customers. Getting ready for the action will add value, so here are some ideas on how to prepare for the games...


1 - These fixtures are sure to draw a crowd so make sure you increase your orders so you don’t run out of your key lines – brands such as Guinness and Magners along with your real ale selection are sure to be big sellers. If you’re eligible for Matthew Clark Promotions then make sure you view your promotions brochures online by clicking here. We work closely with our suppliers to negotiate the very best offers so make sure you benefit from the savings all year round.

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2 -  Divide your bar area to accommodate a fast lane where a member of staff only serves bottles products to speed up service, or if you have space, why not have a mobile bottle bar near your screen? Make sure you brief your staff so they know exactly where they should be and what they should be doing to maximise potential upsell opportunities.

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3 - Serving draught beer in pitchers and bottled beers in buckets can be a great way to increase sales and ease pressure on the bar during the busy periods. Not only that, but it will ensure happier customers as they will be queuing at the bar less. For those big matches, when you are at your busiest, there is a chance you can run out of glassware, or have only freshly cleaned warm glasses available. Having plastic cups not only helps with this problem but also allows glass collectors to carry a huge amount more per trip around the bar.

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4 - Many sports fans will wait with an empty glass for the half or full-time whistles before attempting a trip to the bar. If the bar is quiet get staff to walk around and take drinks orders. You can do the same with handheld food, at a set price a member of staff can walk around the outlet with a box selling burgers and more. Quick profits at the same time as keeping customers happy! Hotdogs are an easy choice!

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5 - Get a local band to play and keep the lively atmosphere going afterwards. You will need a PRS and PPL licence which you probably already have if you play any music in your outlet. Or maybe you could put something on the big screens that people will enjoy after the match? Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal from 2003 on a loop for example, although perhaps only for our English customers!

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The 6 Nations brought a 22% average value sales uplift to the industry.

Sports fans spend 10% more than average consumers on drink-led occasions.

20% of UK consumers watch Rugby Union in the On-Trade


A pub doing 6 casks a week that does not range properly is missing out on anything between 71 and 149 pints per week. Seasonal ales have become an increasingly more popular and important part of a good cask range. With a good seasonal ale, the rarity allows you to charge more than the UK average price per pint of cask ale which currently sits at £3.31. This Autumn we will have a number of seasonal ales available to pre-order for the following weeks’ delivery from your local depot.

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Guinness has become almost synonymous with Rugby. It's a sponsor of the Six Nations, the Official Beer of England Rugby, an official partner of Scottish Rugby and the WRU, sponsors of Irish Rugby, and title sponsor of the Pro14. That's quite the list and it certainly pays off. 1million pints of Guinness are drunk every day in the UK, with sales rising around the big dates in the Rugby calendar. The love goes both ways too, Nick Robinson, Diageo's Marketing Director was once quoted saying the way Rugby fans behave, and are viewed, ensures the brand wants to be associated with them!

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While lager has long held a top stop for sporting occasions. The lager being consumed has however increased in value. Standard draught lager volumes have been falling in the on trade for the past few years. Although lager still takes centre stage, with standard lager still the bulk of the volume, key battles are now being fought by premium and world lager brands which have been growing consistently as a sub-sector. With craft sales in the UK now accounting for 10% of all beer sold it’s fair to say the revolution is now an evolution and here to stay!

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Key Dates

25 Aug: Challenge Cup final, Wembley (League)

13 Oct: Super League Grand Final, Old Trafford (League)

27 Oct: England v New Zealand, first Test, Hull (League)

3 Nov: England v South Africa (Union)

3 Nov: Wales v Scotland (Union)

3 Nov: England v New Zealand second Test, Liverpool (League)

10 Nov: England v NZ; Wales, Scotland & Ireland - TBC (Union)

11 Nov: England v New Zealand third Test, Leeds (League)

17 Nov: England v Japan; Wales, Scotland & Ireland - TBC (Union)

24 Nov: England v Australia; Wales, Scotland & Ireland - TBC (Union)

View all fixtures: Union | League 

 Other guides: Football | Tennis | Grand Prix | American Football

We hope that you've found our Rugby guide useful. Matthew Clark is here to help you in making this Summer of Sport the best summer yet for your outlet, so if you have any questions, comments or require any extra assistance, get in touch with your account manager or contact us here