Drink sales are bouncing back to pre-Covid levels in the UK, according to recent figures.
On Premise drinks sales in the week to Saturday 20 November nudged one per cent above the same week in 2019, insight and research consultancy CGAâ€™s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows.
The news has to be seen as positive for hospitality barware suppliers with CGA saying this is the first time that average sales by value in Britainâ€™s managed pubs, bars and restaurants have been in positive territory for six weeks, and follows two consecutive drops of three per cent. Combined with CGA data showing solid October trading for managed groups and buoyant delivery and takeaway sales, it raises hopes for a good festive period for the On Premise.
Continuing a recent pattern, sales growth in Wales (18 per cent) was much higher than in England, where trading was virtually flat and Scotland, where sales were two per cent up on 2019â€”thanks in part to Walesâ€™ rugby union match against Australia in Cardiff on Saturday (20 November), when sales jumped 42 per cent. Across Britain, Sunday (14 November) was the strongest day of the week with growth of eight per cent.
Just as they have in most weeks since â€˜freedom dayâ€™ in July, spirits were the best performing drinks category by some distance. Their sales were 18 per cent up on 2019, while beer (down three per cent) cider (down one per cent) wine (down 13 per cent) and soft drinks (down one per cent) were all in the red.
â€œAfter weeks of sales falling just short of pre-pandemic levels, it is pleasing to be reporting growth,â€ says Jonathan Jones, CGAâ€™s managing director, UK and Ireland. â€œPubs, bars and restaurants face a host of operational and cost pressures, and consumer confidence remains fragile, but we can be quietly confident that many people will be ready to spend in the On Premise over Christmasâ€”and more stellar sales figures for spirits suggests that many of them will be doing so with cocktails.â€