Bank holiday optimism shines through for Spirits and Cider

Ahead of the August Bank Holiday, a look at what the On Premise could expect based on the first half of the year performance, utilising CGA by NielsenIQ’s exclusive Drinks Recovery Tracker data.

January wasn’t the strongest start to the year, with lingering concerns around the Omicron variant of COVID-19 making it a tough first week in 2022, during what is traditionally an already quiet time of year following Christmas excesses. In the first week of January the strongest performer was Spirits (down -8% vs 2020), while Wine fared the worst (down -26% vs 2020). However, just four weeks later, Spirits were up +3% vs 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions for the On Premise lifted.


Moving ahead to the first bank holidays of the year, and the On Premise saw decent trading but suffered by comparison to a warmer holiday in 2019 – with sales down -5% on Good Friday (15 April) and +2% up on Easter Saturday (16 April). Spirits was the only category to end in the positive, up +10% vs the equivalent period in 2019, while Cider performed poorly (-16%).


The Easter bank holidays were swiftly followed by the early May bank holiday (Monday, 2 May), with the On Premise seeing a boost. Good weather saw sales up +7% and +15% on Friday and Saturday (29 and 30 April) respectively, with Spirits up +16% for the week of 24th – 30th April, as demand for mixed drinks remained strong, while Cider improved on this weekly performance (down just -1% vs 2019).


Combining the Spring Bank Holiday with the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday led to an extra-long weekend in June, with average sales by value in Britain’s managed venues up +21% in the seven days to Saturday 4 June (versus the same week in 2019). Most categories saw a boost, with Spirits soaring to +45% versus 2019, while decent weather pushed Cider to +26% versus the same period in 2019. Across Britain, drink sales shot up by +70% on Wednesday and +55% on Thursday but fell by 9% on Saturday as consumers switched from On Premise celebrations to parties at home or in their communities.


Paul Bolton, client director, said: “The mostly dry weather predictions for the long weekend bode well for the On Premise, with Cider typically seeing a stronger performance when the sun shines. No matter the weather, we’re likely to see Spirits up as consumer preference for mixed drinks and cocktails grows, while Wine will probably remain down as its ongoing difficulties in the On Premise continue. As the last bank holiday before Christmas, it’s expected that consumers will be making the most of the weekend.” 


To learn how CGA by NielsenIQ’s solutions across sales performance and consumer preference can help shape your brands, get in touch with Paul Bolton, client director, at 


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