Out-of-home alcoholic sales values increased by 1.8% in the on-trade last year, climbing to £24.4bn – almost half-a-million pounds more than in 2015, according to CGA Strategy’s Alcohol Sales Tracker.
A rise in value contrasts to a fall in volume sales of alcohol, the report shows.
‘Sketchy consumer confidence’
CGA chief executive Phil Tate said: “Against a background of sketchy consumer confidence and economic uncertainty it is a solid performance, reflecting the strength and innovation of pub, bar and restaurant operators around the country and the continuing move towards more premium products.”
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Food-led venues led the growth in 2016, with value sales rising by more than 4%, following extensive new openings in the casual-dining arena.
Tate added: “Sales in the drinks-led sector of the market rose by 0.6% - a slower rate of value growth, but an encouraging achievement given the ongoing closure of many local and community pubs in Britain.”
Managed pubs saw wet sales rise by 3.3% last year, driven by their focus on food, while the independent free trade grew sales by 1.7% for the same period.
“This growth reflects the huge range of choice in the drinks market now, from value options up to premium brands,” said Tate.
‘Grow alcohol sales’
“The variety of beer, wine and spirits available to pubs presents an opportunity to grow alcohol sales again in 2017 – but only if operators can curate the right ranges.
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“Our figures show a licensed trade that is promoting its drinks well, amid some pretty tough trading conditions.
“They also serve as a reminder that there has never been a more important time to have a drinks offer that is considered compelling and customer-centric, that gives customers options without overwhelming them.”