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Spirits sales drop in Australian on-trade

Sales of spirits in Australian bars and restaurants declined by 6.8% in 2023 after prices for 30ml measures increased by double digits.

The Australian city of Sydney
Cost increases for spirits dented sales in the Australian on-trade

CGA by NIQ’s On Premise Measurement (OPM) tool analyses the performance of beer and spirits in Australia’s bars and restaurants.

It noted that spirits sales declined in the year to 5 December 2023 after prices for 30ml serves rose by 10.2%.

Vodka was the leading subcategory with a third of spirits sales in the country’s on-trade. The segment also had the broadest consumer base with the state of Victoria over-indexing for vodka consumption, compared to larger areas such as New South Wales and Queensland.

After vodka, the biggest spirits segments in the Australian on-trade were whisky, gin and rum. Together, the four categories account for more than 80% of on-trade sales in the country.

Rum has a significantly larger share of sales in Queensland, where it was the fastest-growing category by volume last year, CGA noted. The state is also the biggest for Tequila, called a ‘category to watch’ by the analyst.

Cognac and brandy currently have the highest prices per 30ml serve, emphasising the opportunities for premium and super-premium brands in these segments, CGA added.

Meanwhile, gin had the lowest price rise on average in Australia’s bars and restaurants last year, with consumers remaining conscious of costs in this segment.

Sydney recently welcomed a new Tequila bar, Centro 86, from the hospitality group behind agave spirits den Cantina OK.

In other on-trade news, sales in Australia’s night-time sector surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2022 after reaching AU$146 billion (US$92.5bn), with bar and pub revenue increasing by 9%.

Meanwhile, Australian trade groups are calling on the government to freeze spirits duty for two years after it increased to a new rate.

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