Spirit sales have gone up 2.8 per cent in restaurants and 0.7 per cent in food-led pubs in the past year, the survey revealed. It also found that 86 per cent of spirit drinkers go out more than once a month, compared to 67 per cent for those who prefer other drinks.
Most of the spirit consumption is done between 7pm and 9pm, with 60 per cent of drinkers admitting that is their preferred time slot. On the contrary, only 19 per cent of consumers who drink spirits do so between 5pm and 7pm.
According to CGA, the opportunity is therefore clear: operators need to promote post-work spirit drinking, as well as educate more consumers on how to pair food with spirits and cocktails. The findings also suggest that spirits should be a central part of restaurants and bars’ proposition.
CGA Strategy client services director Rachel Perryman said: “These new figures prove that spirits have the potential to become a far bigger part of the drinks mix for consumers and the outlets that serve them.
“By putting [spirits] at the heart of their offers, pubs and bars could generate even greater sales and win all-important loyalty. The challenge is to understand where, when and why people choose to drink spirits—and to make them more aware of the superb quality and versatility of drinks available to them now.”
CGA suggested diversifying drinks ranges to add a greater variety of premium drinks and mixers, and added that there was work to be done in ‘conveying messages about the relative value and strength of spirits’, as people are often unaware of the fact that the ABV of a spirit and mixer is comparable to that of more popular post-work drinks like beer and wine.
The survey was conducted in September 2014 on 1,000 respondents.