On Premise drinks sales last week were virtually level with summer 2021 and well behind the pre-pandemic markers of three years ago, the latest insights from CGA by Nielsen IQ’s Drinks Recovery Tracker show.

After a solid start to August, managed venues found conditions in the second half of the month much tougher, and average sales in the seven days to Saturday (27 August) were just 0.5% up on the equivalent week one year ago. Trading was down by 13% on the same week in 2019—though this figure is skewed by the August bank holiday weekend falling in that period.

Drinks sales fluctuated over the course of last week, running ahead of 2019 by double digits on Tuesday and Wednesday (23 and 24 August) but falling behind on Friday and Saturday (26 and 27 August). All five key drinks categories were well below the levels of three years ago, though soft drinks (down 9%) and beer (down 10%) fared better than wine (down 16%), cider (down 19%) and spirits (down 26%).

“The bank holiday weekend makes comparisons tricky, but it’s clear that drinks sales are well short of hoped-for levels—especially when we take into account the effects of inflation,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland.

With weekend sales particularly slow, we may well be seeing the effects of consumers becoming more cautious with their discretionary spending. On Premise businesses will need to be at the top of their game to generate growth in the final four months of the year, and the sector needs and deserves proper government support on soaring costs to sustain it through these tough times.”