Drinks sales beat 2021 again, but inflation scuppers growth

Drinks sales in Britain’s On Premise have exceeded last year’s levels for the fourth week in a row, CGA by NielsenIQ’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows.

Average sales in managed venues in the seven days to Saturday (15 October) were 5% ahead of the same week last year, and 4% up on the equivalent period in 2019. With CPI inflation reported this week to be at 10.1%, drinks sales are still well down in real terms. However, four weeks of growth should raise hopes for decent trading in the run-up to Christmas.


Every day of last week delivered sales ahead of 2021’s levels, with a busy round of football fixtures helping to bring people into pubs and bars. Year-on-year growth peaked at 12% on Sunday (9 October) but was much lower on Friday and Saturday (14 and 15 October) at 0.3% and 1%.


For the third week in a row, sales of beer (up 13%) and cider (up 14%) were both in double-digit growth. Soft drinks (up 6%) and wine (up 5%) were up year-on-year too, but spirits were down 10% against very tough comparatives.


“It’s a tumultuous time for the UK economy and politics, but it’s very encouraging to see that people are still so keen to drink out in pubs, bars and restaurants,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “The squeeze on consumers’ discretionary spending continues to tighten, but they will hopefully sustain their enthusiasm as we move towards the first normal Christmas for three years. The football World Cup also gives us confidence that the beer and cider categories can continue their strong recent performance.”


CGA by NielsenIQ’s Drinks Recovery Tracker monitors managed outlet sales as the drinking-out market continues to recover, providing category, supplier and brand rate of sale performance versus pre-COVID-19 sales. Suppliers and operators that want to track the recovery of drinks sales, benchmark performance or identify changes in trends and consumer preferences should contact jonathan.jones@cgastrategy.com.

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