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St Patrick’s Day Tips Drinks Sales Into Growth

Drinks sales continued a pattern of growth into the second half of March, with St Patrick’s Day celebrations boosting pubs and beer suppliers in particular.

CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker shows average sales in managed venues in the week to Saturday 23 March were 1% ahead of the same week in 2023. It follows a 1% increase over the previous week, and 5% growth in the seven days before that.

Pubs and bars took advantage of St Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday (17 March) this year, and sales were 13% ahead of the equivalent Sunday last year. FA Cup quarter-finals also brought people out to drink.

Solid trading continued through the week, but the weekend was tougher, with sales down year-on-year by 2% and 6% on Friday and Saturday (15 and 16 March) respectively.

St Patrick’s Day made it a good period for the Long Alcoholic Drinks (LAD) category, and beer and cider sales were both 8% ahead of last year. However, soft drinks (down 8%), wine (down 8%) and spirits (down 6%) were all in the red.

“St Patrick’s Day continues to deliver for pubs, bars and drinks brands,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Hot on the heels of Mother’s Day, it’s another reminder of the value of celebratory occasions to the On Premise. More modest growth on other days suggests some consumers are saving their money for big events like these and cutting down on more everyday occasions, and recent wet weather won’t have helped general spending. Nevertheless, three straight weeks of year-on-year growth is a positive indicator for the rest of Spring and Summer.”