Beer in growth as craft and no and low help revive sales in France’s On Premise

Beer sales in France’s On Premise are returning towards pre-COVID-19 levels, new data from CGA reveals—but rapid changes in drinking habits mean suppliers and operators will need to stay right on top of consumer trends in 2022.

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CGA’s On Premise Measurement service shows beer sales in the second half of 2021 reached 89.8% of the levels seen in the same six-month period in 2019. The performance comes despite ongoing disruption to trading and consumer concerns about COVID-19, and suggests France’s bars and restaurants are building strong sales momentum.


The data highlights important trends in consumption to track in 2022. It indicates that beer sales have returned fastest in bar restaurants and restaurants, where they sat at 90.7% and 91.8% of 2019 levels respectively. Night bars have recovered 90.4% of sales, but day bars have lagged behind at only 85.5%. This highlights both the return of France’s night-time market in the second half of 2021, and the opportunities for suppliers to help revive beer sales in day bars this year.


CGA’s OPUS research into people’s habits meanwhile confirms the popularity of beer across France’s On Premise. It is consumed by just over half (54%) of consumers, making it the top drinks category ahead of soft drinks (38%) and cocktails (36%).


Graeme Loudon, CGA managing director EMEA, said: “France’s bars and restaurants are bouncing back from two years of COVID-19 disruption, and suppliers will need to tune in to the latest beer sales trends to grow their share of sales during this recovery phase. All bars and restaurants offer great opportunities for growth, but strategies will have to be carefully nuanced to different venues and occasions.”


Significant changes in beer sub-category sales as COVID-19 restrictions ease are also evident. They include a dip in sales for blondes, the largest segment of the beer market, which recovered only 86% of its 2019 sales in the second half of 2021. By contrast, smaller categories like bieres rouges and Ambrées have grown their volumes on 2019, by 15.3% and 3.5% respectively.


The craft market is in steady growth, having increased its share of total beer sales by 0.9 percentage points to 19.1% in 2021.  Craft drinkers are twice as likely as domestic beer consumers to trade up—highlighting the opportunity to move drinkers into higher value serves. Furthermore, Craft also represents an effective route to market for lesser known brands given the variances in how consumers order; 60% of those that categorise themselves as craft beer drinkers do not ask for a specific brand—in contrast to only 36% of general beer drinks, and for those that do, they are most heavily influenced by brands which they perceive to be of high quality.


Since nearly half (47%) of no and low consumers opt for beer, the category is well positioned for growth in 2022. While it is still a relatively small sub-category, a quarter (24%) of consumers say they are opting for no and low alcohol options more often than they were a year ago. This indicates the value of the segment to suppliers seeking to retain beer drinkers who might otherwise drift into the increasingly dynamic soft drinks category—especially during aperitif occasions, when growing numbers of consumers are choosing to moderate their alcohol intake. Manufacturers should be also be aware that CGA’s On Premise Measurement service highlights clear growth in food-led outlets with bar restaurants and restaurants now accounting for 60.7% of total volume in 2021, up 4.6% vs 2019.


Graeme Loudon said: “These numbers reveal how fast France’s beer category is evolving. The way consumers engage with beer styles and occasions is changing, and this brings huge potential to establish new brands and grow existing ones. By monitoring people’s habits and preferences, and responding nimbly, suppliers and operators have a lot to look forward to as we move into Spring and Summer.”


Graeme Loudon


CGA’s powerful market measurement and consumer research provide expert analysis of trends and opportunities across France’s On Premise. They unlock actionable insights for all suppliers and operators in beer and many more drinks categories, helping sales and marketing leaders to effectively position brands, grow share and encourage trial, trade-up and loyalty. To learn more about CGA’s research capabilities, contact Graeme Loudon at




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