The last Friday before Christmas saw a sales boost that demonstrated a resurgence to pre-pandemic drinking habits, with draught beer and cider sales up 8.8% for December, with the last two weeks of the months up 7.6%, the research showed.
Overall, 290m pints were sold in December – which is 619 more extra points sold versus 2022.
For the average pub, this equated to 7,658 pints of draught beer and cider served over December, resulting in a £36,000 income generator.
Oxford Partnership chief executive officer Alison Jordan said: “We had all been hoping to see these kinds of results for the On Trade in the run up to Christmas and thankfully, our data demonstrates a really strong festive season for draught sales,”
In terms of location, city centres were up 8.2% versus 2022, which was driven by a 4.7% uplift in consumer visit time and a 2.6% increase in visitor numbers.
Average consumer dwell time grew at a total level of 128 minutes versus 123 minutes in the same week last year (up 4.3%), with suburbia driving the highest growth at 4.7%.
Footfall increased by 2.6% across all locations with the biggest increases in rural and city centre venues, which Oxford Partnerships put down to festive parties.
Suburbia also performed well versus 2022, with all days performing ahead of last year.
Overall, Christmas 2023 contributed four of the biggest sales days of 2023, which mirrors 2019 and pre-pandemic levels, and also echoes trends seen in the off trade.
With the Friday before Christmas at no.1, Christmas Eve was the second biggest sales day for draught beer and cider in 2023.
In terms of drinks categories, stout was the big winner over the festive period, with sales up by almost a quarter (24%).
No & low alcohol craft, world lager and apple cider also performed well.
But the biggest loser was premium lager, with core lager and flavoured cider also trailing 2022’s sales.