That’s according to the latest Market Report from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), while highlights CGA data that shows overall on-trade alcohol sales fell 3% by value but increased 3% by value over the 12 months. The situation is more positive in the 12 weeks to 6 October, with a volume decline of 2% and an increase of 5% by value.
Although beer sales fell 5% by volume over the year, they increased 1% by value as the average price of beer in the on-trade grew 6%.
RTDs experienced a significant lift, up 3% by both volume and value over the year. The performance in the 12 weeks to 6 October was even stronger, up 15% and 16% by volume and value respectively.
Ciders and perries continued their growth, up 5% by volume and 14% by value.
Spirit volumes were flat but grew 9% by value, reflecting a continuation of the trend towards premium options. CGA said that straight-serve style drinks and cocktails helped lift sales of liqueurs, which grew 10% by volume and 23% by value in the year. Sales of vodka, by far the biggest selling spirit category, fell 5% by volume but increased 1% by value
Malt whisky is showing the fastest annual growth, although its performance slowed from 23% to 13% in the final quarter.
In the off-trade, total sales declined 2%.
WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “Overall, the latest market report shows that consumers are continuing to tighten their belts and shop around for the best value in these tough economic times.
“While it is encouraging to see category growth in some areas, market conditions suggest that it remains a challenging time for both the industry and consumers.
“Given these challenging economic conditions the Government should think carefully before adding further pressure on businesses operating in the sector, as continuing with the duty escalator and the introduction of minimum unit pricing would do.”