The Bank Holiday weekend and a warm end to the summer holidays helped the on-trade to end the summer on a high, with beer and cider particularly buoyant.
Average sales in managed venues in the seven days to Saturday, 3rd September, were 10% ahead of the same week last year, CGA by NielsenIQ’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows.
They were also 15% ahead of the last equivalent period before Covid in 2019 — though this comparison is with a week with no bank holiday. Crucially, the year-on-year figure is just ahead of the current rate of inflation, as measured by the consumer price index.
Sales beat 2021 levels on every day of last week, pulling 8% ahead on bank holiday Monday (29th August). Sunny weather pushed them even higher on Tuesday (up 17%), Wednesday (up 18%), and Thursday (18%). While growth dropped back to single digits on Friday (up 6%) and Saturday (up 4%), it was an excellent run of trading after several flat weeks.
The high temperatures ignited the LAD (long alcoholic drinks) category in particular, with beer sales up by 20% year on year and cider rising 33%. Soft drinks (up 13%) and wine (up 4%) were in growth, too, but spirits sales were down 11% — though the equivalent week in 2021 was inflated by many consumers celebrating the full re-opening of the on-trade with cocktails and shots.
“The inflation-beating end to August should give heart to on-premise operators and suppliers,” said Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland.
“It shows that consumers’ appetite for drinking out remains as strong as ever — especially when the sun shines — and strong beer and cider sales are particularly encouraging. This week’s announcements from the government around energy bills support for consumers and businesses are welcomed, however the hospitality sector is still facing challenges on multiple fronts.”