Spirits Rise For Halloween As Drink Sales Creep Up On Fright Night For GB’s On-Trade

Something spooky’s going on in Britain’s pubs and bars!

According to new figures from CGA ghoulish fun at Halloween is no longer confined to trick or treating for the kids as British venues start to follow those in the United States, where Halloween is now one of the biggest annual events for the on-trade.

Figures show that Halloween is fast becoming a big night out for GB adults with average drink sales through restaurants, bars and pubs rising 11% on 31st October 2018, compared with sales on an average wednesday. That performance also marked a 22% hike on Halloween 2017 – another indication that the event is becoming more significant in Britain’s on-trade.

Halloween spikes spirit sales by 57%, with vodka, liqueurs and speciality drinks being the most popular drinks for spook night. In contrast, beer sales increased by just 2.3%, suggesting that Halloween is a high-tempo occasion where consumers choose shots, bombs and cocktails rather than beer or long drinks.

CGA’s consumer research confirms the soaring popularity of Halloween as a social event with over one in five (21%) consumers going out for Halloween in 2018 —putting it behind only New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve and bank holidays as a special drinking-out occasion.

The typical fright-night consumer is aged 18-24 (40%) and more likely to be female (68%). A high proportion of Halloween revellers are students.

“Our research reveals that the majority of participants have white-collar jobs and a higher monthly spend on eating and drinking out – £125 compared with the average £107. These are consumers that enter the spirit of Halloween with cash in their pockets – so it’s a great opportunity, particularly for pub and bar operators who get the atmosphere and offer right,” commented Rachel Weller, CGA’s strategic initiatives director.

“We are already seeing the opening of more experience-led venues, which typically make more sales by running themed evenings, games, immersive storytelling and virtual reality activities – as well as cashing in on the fact that 84% consumers on a night out now upload photos to social media.

“The fancy dress aspect of Halloween is a great opportunity to get branding for operators,” added Weller, “although that can only be achieved if pubs, bars and drinks brands deliver the all-important ‘Instagrammability’— with environments and activations that encourage drinkers to take and share their snaps.”