Widespread bad weather ended a strong run for on-trade drinks sales last week, offsetting boosts from England’s knockout games in the Rugby World Cup.
After eight weeks of growth out of nine in the Daily Drinks Tracker from CGA by NIQ, year-on-year average sales in managed venues fell marginally by 0.2% in the week to last Saturday (21st October).
Storm Babet reduced pub and bar visits across the week, with daily sales down by 10% and 6% on Wednesday and Friday, two particularly rough days.
There was better trading on England’s two World Cup matchdays. Drinks sales were 5% up on both Sunday and Saturday, when England beat Fiji and lost to South Africa respectively.
The rugby made it another good week for the long alcoholic drink (LAD) category. Beer sales (up 4%) were in year-on-year growth for the 11th week in a row, while cider (up 3%) shrugged off the poor weather too. Wine (up 0.2%) and soft drinks (down 4%) were weaker, while spirits (down 9%) was the lowest performing category, as it has been for most of 2023.
“It’s been a generally good September and October for pubs and bars, but Storm Babet sank midweek trading in some regions last week,” said Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland.
“Operators and suppliers will now be hoping for a boost from Halloween occasions before the countdown to Christmas begins, and there is all to play for over the last two months of the year.”