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Spirits soar to bring drinks sales level with 2019

Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants rounded out September with another solid week of drinks sales, pulling the On Premise virtually back to pre-pandemic levels.

Average drinks sales by value in the seven days to Saturday (2 October) were down by 1% on the same week in 2019, CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows. It completes a decent September after a similar 1% drop last week, a 5% fall in the seven days before that, and growth of 1% and 5% in the first fortnight of the month. As they have been for many weeks now, spirits were the best performing drinks category by some distance. Their sales were up by nearly a quarter (24%) on the same week in 2019—thanks in part to Freshers Weeks in many university cities and towns, widespread demand for cocktails, shooters and shots and a revival in the late-night sector. By comparison, beer and cider sales were both down 8%, while wine had another tough week at 13% down. Sunday (26 September) delivered the strongest trading of the week, with total sales up 11% and spirits rocketing 58%. Year-on-year sales dipped by 13% the next day, in line with falling temperatures across Britain, but stayed nearly level with 2019 for the rest of the week.

Pubs, bars and restaurants head into the final quarter of 2021 with good momentum in drinks sales,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “The stellar figures for spirits are a particularly positive sign—especially for the late-night sector, which has suffered so much over the last 18 months. Staffing and supply challenges are casting a long shadow over the market, but consumer demand is clearly strong, and with the right support the On Premise can help the country end a very tough year on a high.”


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