Beer is returning pub-goers' favourite drink but reopening weekend sales still down

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Favourite tipple: beer was the most popular drink across the reopening weekend but sales were still down on last year's
Favourite tipple: beer was the most popular drink across the reopening weekend but sales were still down on last year's

Related tags: Beer, Spirits, Soft drinks, Craft beer

Overall drinks sales across managed pubs and bars were 49% down on pre-lockdown levels on Saturday 4 July and 52% down on Sunday 5 July, new research has found.

Data experts CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker, which compares the average daily drinks sales per site to the market average on the equivalent weekend in 2019, found that beer sales held best but were still more than a third (36%) down on the day of reopening (Saturday) and 43% down on the Sunday, compared to sales before the coronavirus pandemic.

Director of client services Jonny Jones said: “Beer’s relatively better showing highlights the struggle of recreating the draught pint experience at home, which has clearly left consumers thirsting for that first pint.”

Spirits sales

Spirits performed roughly in line with the market on Saturday, with sales down 50% on pre-lockdown levels, but saw better results on Sunday, a sales drop of 45%.

“However, Sunday is not as strong a sales day for spirits in a normal week,” observed Jones. “So this stronger performance on Sunday is in comparison to a lower base.”
Sales of alcohol outperformed soft drinks over the first weekend, with soft drinks sales down 58% on Saturday and 55% on Sunday.

Staying local

“This may well be explained by people staying local and not driving, or families not going out to pubs on the first weekend back,” Jones added.

CGA stated the drinks sales results were broadly in line with total sales numbers collected by its Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which saw overall like-for-like trading in the managed pub, bar and restaurant sector down by 45% compared to the same weekend in 2019.

This comes after the data expert predicted cutting the social distancing rule from two metres to one upon reopening would mean an additional 145m additional pints of beer​ would be sold in the remainder of 2020.

Related topics: Beer

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