According to CGA senior client manager, Tom Quinn, during the last "normal" period of trade, spirits was the only drinks category across beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks, that was in both volume and value growth.
"That had been the case for some time leading up to that point where it had 23.1% value share of total drinks and accounted for one in every £5 spent on drinks in the on-trade," he tells The Morning Advertiser.
CGA's data also reveals that, vodka was the biggest contributor to this – with well over a quarter share of volume – but had been the biggest loser of share over time driven by the gin boom which had gone through various stages of premiumisation and innovation, with green shoots also coming from rum.
According to Quinn, as the on-trade navigates the Government's roadmap, initial sales dynamics will be similar to July 2020, and gradually return to what would be considered normal levels.
"If the roadmap goes to plan, we would expect there to be more of a spirits boom and a shift back closer to what we in terms of the category dynamics pre-Covid," he explains.
Alongside beer and cider, cocktails have also seen the largest proportion of their consumer base return to the on-trade and remain a vital part of the on-trade sales mix with 6.3m consumers saying they drank cocktails in the on-trade before the pandemic hit.
"To put it in context, that's more people than drink vodka, or drink rum, or drink craft beer,” Quinn explains. “During the second lockdown, consumers started to seek out on-trade experiences from their own homes - which involved buying alcohol online or in supermarkets to socialise in their households.
"Cocktails have been part of this trend to recreate on-trade experiences at home, with 50% of category consumers making cocktails themselves, and of those one-in-four had never done this prior to Covid-19.
"So, people have now potentially been recruited to the category and naturally you would hope would be encouraged to try them once back out again in the on-trade."
While consumers opted for simple serves when making cocktails at home – spritz for example gained traction – CGA data reveals that when out in the on-trade, drinkers plump for more complex serves and are more open to experimentation.
"What I'd expect us to see is, certainly, simpler serves that consumers are going to want to engage with, but also given they've not been able to have those more complex serves at home, they will want to have that when out in the trade again, so that they can make the most of that experience.
"It's also useful to note that based on research that we've conducted, we can see that consumer taste profiles are broadening - all flavour profiles are actually up."
Diageo’s team of drinks experts have come together to share top tips and advice this summer in preparation of reopening and share how to maximise trading through a category worth £624m.
There are many ways to do this, from encouraging exploration to focusing on key occasions. Download the report now to find out more.
 (CGA Mixed Drinks Report Q1 2020 – Volumetric sales data)