The bottle of Belhaven Black Sottish Stout with a fire in the background

Halloween offers venues a fantastic opportunity to drive midweek sales and profits and get the long road to the festive season off to a spooky flyer.

Over the last decade or so, Halloween has steadily grown in importance and popularity as more and more British consumers have embraced the festival that’s long been so phenomenally popular on the other side of the Atlantic – and it’s not just the kids that are getting big into the annual frightfest.

That’s great news for venues, of course, and the fact that Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year means there’s a fantastic opportunity to give your sales and profits a spooky boost on a traditionally quiet night.

According to CGA data, sales on Halloween day itself last year were up 9% on 2019 levels, the last comparable year before the pandemic kicked in. Sales were also up when compared to the two days that immediately preceded Halloween day.

The same study found that Halloween 2022 also brought more people out to venues, with the two best-performing drinks categories being beer and cider. Year-on-year beer sales rose 15% while cider sales increased by 19%.

The net result was that last year saw Halloween celebrations return to their pre-pandemic levels for the first time – which bodes well for this year’s takings.

Halloween, rapidly followed by Bonfire Night, also marks the unofficial start of the countdown to the critical festive season. Making the most of Halloween, then, is a fantastic way to get a profit-laden few months underway on the right foot.

Monster sales

To help venues do precisely that, Greene King and Belhaven have included two special Halloween beers in their annual Fresh Cask Releases series of limited-edition cask ales.

The beers have been brewed specifically for Halloween and will help venues add interest, generate excitement, tempt more consumers into cask ales and, of course, grow sales and profits.

Available throughout October, Gangly Ghoul Premium Bitter is an easy-drinking brew at 4.2% ABV and delivers warm toffee notes on the palate with a touch of orange peel citrus and spicy finishing tones. In other words, it’s the perfect drop to appeal to customers who think they might not like cask ale, as well as for the connoisseurs who will drink nothing else.

Gangly Ghoul features a brand-new pump clip complete with a spooky green ghoul, helping to drive trial among your customers and add a little fun into the celebration.

The second Halloween-themed ale available in October is a quirky and light-hearted makeover of the classic Old Speckled Hen. Named Old Spooky Hen, the limited-edition ale was first rolled out in 2016 and has been hugely successful ever since.

Old Spooky Hen comes complete with an attention-grabbing ghoulish pump clip, and a full POS kit is also available. It has proven itself particularly popular with a younger audience, again giving venues the chance to entice new drinkers into the cask ale category.

Both beers are available in smaller 4.5G Pins format, allowing you to ensure that you eliminate wastage and serve ales that are fresh and in tip-top condition, risk-free.

Cask Iron Guarantee

Don’t forget too that all 9G Firkins of Greene King and and Belhaven Cask Ales are covered by the Cask Iron Guarantee which means that if any cask ales you buy from Greene King or Belhaven don’t sell through, you’ll get your money back. You can claim a full refund on unbroached casks as well as claim credit for any remaining volume on broached casks.

So, the scene is set for a bumper Halloween and a flying start to the increasingly long festive season.

 

9% Increase in total sales v 2019 levels

15% YOY increase in Halloween beer sales in 2022

19% YOY increase in Halloween cider sales in 2022

 

Halloween a brief history

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honour all saints and All Saints Day was born, incorporating some of the traditions of Samhain.

The day before became known as All Hallows Eve, before evolving to become known as Halloween.

The Celts believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on that night and that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.