At the launch of the spirit giant’s annual market report, which was released in the City last night (14 July), managing director Rita Greenwood said: “We recognise that the EU referendum has an impact on the market.”
Consumers value brand experience over product
Immediacy, convenience and availability
People want to feel good and live for longer
Reward is important, especially to counter uncertainty
The importance of image and self-promotion
However, Greenwood, who has worked at various senior levels for almost a decade in the company, which has its headquarters in Scotland, would not comment further on what the impact could be.
Instead the firm’s marketing director Gary Keogh urged operators to adapt to consumer trends, while Joanna Jordan, sales operations controller, said any uncertainty was likely to lead customers to trade-up to premium spirits.
During the 2008 financial crisis, consumers spent less on standard drinks and started to buy into the premium category as a treat, a trend that has continued and was likely grow in the coming years, Jordan added.
Sale up in the on-trade
Sales of beer, wine and spirits (BWS) in the on-trade were up in value by 2.4% to £24.1bn in the 12 months to April 2016, compared with the previous 12 months.
Spirits alone rose by 6.3% to £5.8bn and accounted for 61% of the total BWS growth for the period, according to the report.
Top 10 pub spirits brands by volume:
- Smirnoff Red Label
- Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
- Bacardi Cart Blanca
- The Famouse Grouse
- Bell’s Original
- Captain Morgan’s Spiced
- Courvoisier VS
- Baileys Original
More than 70% of spirits value sales in the on-trade came from vodka, liqueurs and specialities, gin and blended whisky. Vodka accounted for 32.3% of total sales, liqueurs and specialities made up 23.1%, gin 9.9% and blended whisky 6.8%.
Sales of spirits in pubs rose by £111m for the period, with vodka, speciality drinks, non-cream liqueurs and gin accounting for 59.6% of value sales.
Spirits growth in pubs came from vodka (up £33.4m), gin (up £29.5m) and non-cream liqueurs (up £12.5m).
The report said: “Volume performance has begun to stabilise in the on-trade although we still see premiumisation in full effect as value sales continue to grow well ahead of volume.
“Trading up has become as important as ever across all aspects of the consumer journey as consumers may not be going out as often but when they do, they make it worthwhile.”
Trade-ups were, in-part, driven by consumers’ desire to buy into an experience, which has driven cocktail sales up.
The number of outlets serving cocktails in the on-trade rose to 28% in the 12 months to April 2016, compared with 23.1% for the previous year.
Cocktail sales in pubs also rose, with one in four sites now serving cocktails, compared with one in five for the previous year.
GB on-trade top spirits categories
Value Share %
Volume Share %
French grape brandy
Other imported whiskey