What’s driving key category trends in the On Premise

The On Premise has always been key to driving growth in drinks sales, building brand loyalty amongst consumers, and is an important channel for NPD. It’s no secret that following the reopening of the On Premise post-pandemic, consumer tastes have shifted. However, the increases in inflation and cost-of-living pressures have meant that consumer trends are continuing to evolve rapidly.

It’s never been more important to review some of these significant shifts across drinks categories, to ensure that suppliers and operators alike can stay ahead of the game. 


Rum: signs that it’s replacing gin for many drinkers 

CGA’s consumer research reveals that nearly half (48%) of rum drinkers are aged 18 to 34—a proportion that is four percentage points higher than a year ago. A similar number (47%) drink out weekly, and a fifth fall into CGA’s ’Trending Tastemakers’ segment, which means they are a particularly valuable and influential demographic to target. With consumers now wanting more rum options on menus than gin choices, there are strong signs that rum is replacing gin in many drinkers’ repertoires. 


Gin: can it maintain its position in the On Premise? 

After booming for several years, the gin category lost market share to other subcategories in 2021. This is partly explained by the relative ease of recreating gin-based drinks during lockdown, and by a desire among some consumers for new spirits, including rum, vodka and tequila.


However non-flavoured gin is still consumed on all, or nearly all occasions by nearly 45% of Britain’s On Premise drinkers. The figures translate into a considerable gin presence in bars, restaurants, pubs, and clubs; in the latest quarter, a whopping 94% of Britain’s backbars stocked gin expressions.


Vodka: showing no signs of stopping 

Vodka sales have continued to grow following the re-opening of the On Premise, running significantly higher (+24%) in 2022 versus the same period in 2019. Nearly one in seven (13.9%) British consumers drink Vodka out, with the category skewing towards younger consumers with over half aged 18 to 34. 


The category’s growth looks set to continue, given the popularity of cocktails and the return of the late-night occasion following COVID-19 lockdowns, with vodka consumers spending an average of £118 a month in the On Premise – £17 more than they did prior to the pandemic. 


Cider: Pear losing out to Apple and other fruit flavours 

Apple Cider has stolen back sales from the fruit category in the last three years, with a 61.9% share in the last quarter—up by 2 percentage points from 2019. However, fruit brands now have a similar penetration, and are stocked in more than 83,000 outlets—only 9,000 fewer than Apple Cider, while Pear Cider has seen the steepest drop of any fruit variant. 


Cider drinkers are an important part of the On Premise, spending more than the all-consumer average in the channel, with over a third of them drinking out weekly (37%). Good weather over the summer months will help to drive sales in this category, but continued innovation and NPD within Cider will ensure brands can attract new consumers and retain existing drinkers. 


Beer: Needs to win back younger consumers 

The popularity of cocktails and spirits since the end of COVID-19 restrictions has had a significant impact on the popularity of beer, particularly amongst younger consumers. BrandTrack data shows that fewer than a sixth (15%) of 18 to 24 year-olds now typically choose beer while drinking out of home—well below both cocktails (42%) and spirits (31%). The problem is even more acute in the cask category, where only 7% of drinkers are aged 18 to 34. As consumers of this and other beer categories get older, recruiting and retaining younger adults will be crucial to future growth. 


Wine: Champagne, white and rosé take red’s share 

The wine category has struggled since the end of lockdown, as older consumers were slower to return to the On Premise and some sales leaked away to spirits and cocktails. However, Champagne has grown its share of wine sales by 2.4 percentage points since 2020, while white and rose wine have gained 0.5 and 0.9 respectively. Their growth has come at the expense of red wine, which has lost 2.9 percentage points of share. 


With wine continuing to lose share of drinks sales in the On Premise, suppliers should capitalise on treat occasions and look to promote wine during the most effective day parts for the category – whilst not ignoring the growing importance that value for money is playing in consumers’ choices. 


Paul Bolton, CGA client director, said: “These insights highlight how significantly consumer tastes in the On Premise have changed, and the importance of understanding these trends from both a consumer research and market measurement perspective. We still haven’t seen the full impact of cost-of-living pressures on consumer behaviour yet, but at CGA we will be keeping our finger on the pulse of these shifts and how this will shape the performance of all drinks categories in the On Premise.” 


CGA’s unrivalled suite of sales measurement services and consumer research helps drinks suppliers track On Premise trends, support operators and unlock new sales opportunities across all drinks categories. To learn more, contact CGA client director Paul Bolton at paul.bolton@cgastrategy.com. 

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