31Dover positions itself to offer "direct-to-consumer lifeline" for on-trade exclusive brands

Online drinks retailer 31Dover recorded a sharp increase in sales through March 2020 and it said it is now “sharing its online direct-to-consumer lifeline” with wholesalers and brands who were solely reliant on the on-trade.

Sales in the company’s on-trade business, Vanquish, have stalled, but it has managed to convert some of Vanquish’s on-trade exclusive brands over to the 31Dover platform to give these brands a route to market.

Laura Riches, chief marketing officer, told DRN: “Sales at Vanquish have slowed right down so we understand first-hand the profound impact that coronavirus is having on the industry. We are fortunate that 31Dover provides us with a platform to sell directly to consumers, so we are keen to share this lifeline with the wholesalers and brands who were solely reliant upon the on-trade. For our customers at home during lockdown, it is a fantastic opportunity to taste hidden gems, which were otherwise only available in premium bars and restaurants.”

One example is super premium lager Noam beer, which was previously focused solely on high-end on-trade outlets via Vanquish, but is now available for consumers to buy direct from 31Dover.

Philip Gade, partner at Noam, said: “The current situation has really tested our business. At Noam we have always taken incredible pride in providing the on-trade with a unique, high quality product. Our aim has always been for consumers to enjoy Noam in special places with ambience and style - and this will continue in the future.

“However, since this opportunity has been taken from us all by the coronavirus crisis, we decided to bring Noam to our customers at home in collaboration with 31Dover, to ensure everybody can continue to have a pleasant moment during these challenging times”.

31Dover has seen an average uplift of 47% across all of its delivery regions for online alcohol orders in March compared with February this year.

It said the North East of England saw the most significant increase (+82%) driven by spirit sales with gin up 147%, vodka up 143% and rum 245%, as well as a significant increase for sparkling wine sales (+106%) for the region.

At the other end of the spectrum the company said drinkers in the North West of England have been slower to adopt online alcohol buying with only a 10% uplift. For this region vodka sales dropped by 16% but rum sales were up 189% and gin 84%.

In Greater London, where sales jumped up 62% for the period, the focus has been on mixers (up 817%) alongside a 192% increase for gin and 97% for vodka. The retailer said Cognac and brandy sales also climbed significantly in this region.

In terms of overall category trends, 31Dover said G&Ts appear to be leading the way with a 102% uplift in gin and 471% boost for mixer sales throughout March, compared with February this year.

It added: “Wine sales are also up across red, white and rose – 159%, 184% and 181% respectively – while sparkling sales have remained consistent month on month. Drilling a little deeper into the nation’s wine-buying trends, the South East and South West England is definitely leading the way. Rose season is fully underway in the South West (+815%) while red wine is flying in the South East (+941%)."

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