Drinks sales continued to run well below pre-COVID levels last week, CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows—though they suffered from an equivalent 2019 period that included the August Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday.

England’s average drinks sales by value in the seven days to last Saturday (28 August) were 16% down on the same week in 2019, but they held up better in Scotland (down 11%) and Wales (down 10%).

The sunny Bank Holiday weekend of 2019 meant comparisons were tough on Sunday (down 39%) and Monday (37%). But continuing a pattern since reopening, midweek trading delivered some positive results, with sales up 5% and 8% on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, before falling back again on Thursday (down 6%), Friday (down 17%) and Saturday (down 3%).

A second notable post-reopening trend—of strong spirit sales—was also extended last week. While sales were 10% down on 2019, spirits were again the strongest performing category of the week, ahead of wine (down 14%), beer (down 17%), soft drinks (15%) and cider (down 31%).

The Bank Holiday weekend of 2019 makes it difficult to compare drinks sales with 2019, but it’s clear that there is still a way to go before the On Premise returns to pre-COVID levels,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “However, good midweek trading and the resurgence of spirit sales are two good reasons for optimism that momentum will build—and good weather over the recent August Bank Holiday will have provided a welcome boost for many venues.”