Celebratory summer will drive booze and sauces.
"For Brits, not having alcohol at a barbecue is like forgetting the burgers," says Richard Benjamin, managing director of Manchester Drinks.
Like many alcohol suppliers, Benjamin feels there is significant room for category growth this year as key events drive celebratory sales. "We expect that with the Olympics, Jubilee and Euro 2012, sales will be our highest to date," he says.
Dan Townsend, general manager at Treasury Wine Estates UK & Ireland, believes some brands will benefit more than others, particularly those already associated with sunnier climes-such as Australian and Shiraz Cabernet wines.
But, he adds, retailers could do more to appeal to consumer tastes. "Retailers often overlook red wine when cross-promoting in the barbecue season, despite the fact that many consumers prefer red wines with more pronounced food flavours, rather than lighter whites, to accompany barbecue meat," he says.
Traditionally, it is the beer brands that capitalise on barbecue season most-and they'll be pulling out all the stops this year to ensure that's still the case.
Chang Beer is offering a special-edition branded barbecue this summer in an effort to associate its bottles with the occasion. Foster's, meanwhile, is to roll out a [pounds sterling] 7.5m campaign in a bid to position Foster's Gold as a mainstream premium lager. Both will be keen to capitalise on the 300/0 value growth in sales of long alcoholic drinks that mixed social occasions such as barbecues can bring [SymphonyIRI].
Budweiser, meanwhile, is hoping to encourage consumers to hit the sauce in more ways than one. Having launched its barbecue sauce and marinade range in 2008, it is hoping this year's barbecue-friendly events will make 2012 an even bigger year for the five-strong range.
"The packaging of Budweiser's barbecue sauce bottles is instantly recognisable," says Vicki Rusz, product marketing manager at importer RH Amar. "In 2011, sales of Budweiser's most popular original barbecue sauce rose sixfold at the onset of the barbecue season."