On-trade alcohol sales in need of festive cheer

By Carina Perkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

On-trade alcohol sales continue to decline, but should receive a boost over the festive period
On-trade alcohol sales continue to decline, but should receive a boost over the festive period

Related tags: Cent, Alcoholic beverage

Pubs and restaurants have been hit by falling alcohol sales over the past twelve weeks, but could receive a boost as people gear up for the festive period.

According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) market report for Q4 2014, on-trade sales of wine, spirits, and beer continued to decline this quarter, with annual sales down 3 per cent year-on-year in volume terms.

Spirit sales fell 5 per cent in Q4 2014 compared to the previous quarter, driven by a 7 per cent drop in vodka and whisky sales. Only gin bucked the trend, with double digit volume and value growth over the past 12 weeks.

On-trade wine sales fell 4 per cent this quarter, with sales from most regions showing decline. Even sales of sparkling wine, which has shown impressive growth so far this year, slowed into single figures over the past 12 weeks.

“The latest market report suggests it has been another mixed trading period for the sector. The fall in on-trade sales will be of concern for restaurants, bars and pubs - which are increasingly reliant on wine and spirit sales,” said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.

Black Friday of booze

However, data from Public England suggests that pubs and restaurants could see alcohol sales soar today (Friday 19 December), which has been dubbed ‘the black Friday of booze’.

Last year, Friday 20 December 2013 saw sales of alcohol in pubs, bars and restaurants rise by 114 per cent compared to the average Friday.

Total alcohol sales were up 28 per cent in December 2013 compared to November 2013, reaching £3.7bn. Sales of sparkling wine and liquers rose by 88 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.

Anticipating a similar rise in December alcohol consumption this year, PHE has urged people to be ‘mindful’ about the health impacts of drinking,

Charity Alcohol Concern has encouraged people to sign up for its Dry January campaign and abstain from drinking for a month.

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