Drinkers embracing draught and premium in first visits back

Drinkers have been spending freely on their return to pubs, bars and restaurants, and opting for the draught pints they missed in months of lockdown.

Those are among the insights from CGA’s latest Consumer Pulse survey, which reveals the preferences of drinkers as hospitality reopens. It indicates that with confidence now relatively high, consumers have been drinking out for longer periods than they did after previous lockdowns. In the first week of reopening in April, they were drinking an average of 3.8 serves per venue—significantly higher than the 2.8 average in the first week back after lockdown in July 2020.


As CGA’s sales data has shown, premium lagers have been among the category winners since venues reopened. Just over a quarter (28%) of returning consumers have chosen lager, four percentage points more than after July’s reopening. Two thirds (67%) of them have bought it on draught—a sign that many beer drinkers have missed the pub experience during long periods of being limited to canned or bottled lagers.


There is also evidence that many drinkers are upgrading their choices on their return to venues, with two in five (41%) lager drinkers opting for premium brands.


The Consumer Pulse survey shows that consumers’ buying is being driven by both past On Premise preferences and at-home drinking. Habit (38%) was the most common driver of drinks choices in the first week of reopening, while 13% chose drinks they had tried for the first time during lockdown—up from 9% in July 2020.


Rachel Weller, CGA’s director of consumer research and marketing, said: “Drinkers have clearly been eager to get back to drinks like draught beer that have been very hard for them to recreate at home. With many people happy to spend cash that they have saved during lockdown, this period of outside service should hopefully prove a good springboard for the fuller return of drinking-out from 17 May.”


For more information about CGA’s Consumer Pulse research and its extensive insights into people returning to the On Premise, contact Charlie Mitchell at charlie.mitchell@cgastrategy.com.


CGA’s Consumer Pulse data is taken from a nationally representative survey of 750 British adults on Tuesday 20 April 2021.

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