Consumers have been celebrating the reopening of the On Premise in England with sparkling wine, cocktails and draught pints, CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows.
CGA has reported a strong first week for venues that were able to trade, and like-for-like drinks sales have tracked well ahead of food. Despite being limited to outdoor service, like-for-like food and drink sales from last Monday to Sunday (12 to 18 April) were down by only 21% on the equivalent week in 2019, which contained Easter. But all main drinks categories traded well ahead of that average last week, and were much higher than during hospitality’s post-lockdown reopening of July 2020.
Wine and champagne sales were down by only 11% on April 2019, with beer and cider down 14% and spirits down 12%. Category trends emerging from the first week of trading include:
- Celebratory themes in wine, with sales of sparkling wine and Champagne up by 24% and 25% on the equivalent week in April 2019.
- An upswing in draught beer sales over packaged as drinkers sought pulled pints rather than the bottles and cans they have been limited to in lockdown. Draught beer and cider grew their share of sales by four percentage points from April 2019.
- Signs of premiumisation in choices as consumers treat themselves on early visits back to the On Premise. World lager grew its share of the draught lager market by nine percentage points, at the expense of standard lager.
- Lower interest in soft drinks, with sales down 50% on April 2019 as consumers opted to toast reopening with alcoholic drinks instead.
- A wave of interest in cocktails and shots as consumers sought high tempo occasions, despite being limited to outdoors. Sales in the non-cream liqueurs category were 75% up on April 2019, and shots, tequila and sambuca increased their market share at the expense of gin and vodka, which have been much easier for consumers to enjoy at home.
The first wave of consumers returning to pubs, bars and restaurants have been enjoying the drinks they’ve missed during so long in lockdown,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Draught beer and cocktails are never as good at home as in the On Premise, and it’s encouraging to see their sales bouncing back well. It’s also apparent that many drinkers are treating themselves to premium options to celebrate reopening. There’s a long way to go before sales get back to pre-COVID levels, but this is a positive start for operators and suppliers.”