UK pubs are missing out on wine sales because they don't know what their customers want, according to research released at this week's London International Wine and Spirits Fair.

The UK-based trade journal The Publican found only 11% of pub-goers trusted pubs to serve wine professionally, in a survey of over 2,000 wine-drinkers and non wine-drinkers.

Only 5% felt confident that the landlord would be an expert on wine, while a mere 17% thought that the wine served in pubs was of a good quality. Most wine-drinkers never drink wine in pubs.

The reasons behind the scepticism are well-founded. A third of all pubs stock just two choices of wine, which are only changed annually, while the average amount of wines stocked by a pub is four. Three in four staff don’t feel confident discussing wine with customers.

Despite this pessimism, consumers revealed a distinct thirst for wine, which is the only drinks category to show long term growth in the pub sector.

However retailers are missing out. When asked to name the biggest influence on their wine buying habits in pubs, most women answered ‘brands’.

Yet 40% of pubs don’t stock branded wines. Equally, men were mostly influenced by country of origin and grape variety, with Australian Shiraz proving most popular.

Over half of all pubs don’t stock an Australian wine, however, with an equal number having no Shiraz on their shelves.

Written by Guy Woodward23 May 2003