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Spirits sales fall 19% in GB on-trade

Drinks sales in Great Britain’s on-trade have declined for the fifth week in a row with spirits seeing the biggest drop.

on-trade gin glass
Spirits continued to lag behind all other drinks categories in Great Britain’s bars and restaurants

CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker showed that drinks sales were down by 5% in the week to 4 May, compared to the same period last year.

It followed four weeks of declines between 0.2% and 6% for on-trade drinks sales since early April.

CGA attributed the recent decrease to poor weather in many parts of Britain, as well as a tough comparison with a sunny first week of May in 2023, which was boosted by a Bank Holiday weekend.

Spirits sales plummeted by 19% in the seven days to 4 May, while beer and wine both rose slightly by 1%. Cider dipped by 1% and soft drinks declined by 7% over the same period.

The second half of the week performed better with year-on-year drinks sales up by 6% on Wednesday 1 May and by 13% on the following day. Sales on Saturday soared by 22% as it marked the start of the early May 2024 Bank Holiday weekend.

“Bank Holidays always make year-on-year comparisons tricky, sales trends have exhibited greater volatility owing to irregular rainfall throughout April,” said Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland.

“Nevertheless, suppliers and operators should be encouraged by strong trading in the first few days of May, which suggests some consumers are starting to spend more. With warmer weather arriving at last and forecasts of more to come, we can expect some favourable conditions – especially for venues with gardens and terraces.”

Spirits also reported a 19% sales decline in the previous week (21-27 April) with all other categories facing small drops, including a 1% decrease for both beer and wine.

Spirits continued to fall in the week to 20 April (down by 9%) and the previous seven days (7-13 April) with a decline of 11%. Across the two weeks, all other segments (except soft drinks) increased slightly.

From 31 March to 6 April, all drinks categories decreased, including a 5% drop for spirits and a 3% decline for beer.

Spirits performed better in the last week of March (24-30) with growth of 7%. However, the category remained behind all other segments with double-digit gains of between 10% and 16%.

Dark rum is experiencing a surge in popularity in Great Britain’s on-trade with its value increasing by 5% last year.

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