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Revellers push premium higher

Published:  06 November, 2017

An increase in Brits going upmarket when having a night on the tiles has led to a surge in on-trade sales of artisan and luxury drinks across the alcohol category, according to new data from research company CGA.

The Going Premium report, released today (Friday, November 3) reveals that more than two in five, or 43%, of consumers now choose “high-quality drinks” when enjoying a night out, or say they are likely to upgrade to a posher variant of their preferred tipple when drinking away from home.

When looking at this phenomenon among the 18 to 34-year-old consumer group, the figure rises to more than half – 54%, according to the research – suggesting that young adults are driving the shift towards more upmarket alcoholic beverages.

Referring to the trend for premium as “one of the most fascinating” to have emerged in the drinking-out scene in recent years, CGA chief executive Phil Tate said the new report would cast fresh light on the factors behind “premiumisation and its consequences”.

“The appeal of luxury brands in particular is soaring and on-trade operators need to stay on top of drinking trends such as these if they are to generate spend and loyalty in this ultra-competitive market,” Tate added.

The report emphasised the “huge value” of premium drinkers to everyone operating in the on-trade, from pubs and wine bars to restaurants, he said.

Within spirits, the analysis of the trend revealed consumers were increasingly opting for liquids that are classified as “super-premium”, with volumes of such up nearly 12% in the on-trade in the year to June, 2017.

“Small-batch, artisan-style spirits, especially gins, have hugely increased their appeal recently – and demand for premium mixers to drink with them is rising too,” said Tate.

A similar trend is apparent in beer, where craft volumes increased by 14.5% in the

same period. The trend was boosted by brewers’ persistent efforts in recent times to push their beers as ideal to pair with food when enjoying dinner, be that in a posh restaurant, pub or at home.

In addition, the report revealed that consumers who drink premium brands tend to spend much more on eating and drinking out than their non-premium counterparts, averaging £116 and £92 a month respectively.

To capitalise on this fast-growing thirst for artisan and luxury brands, Tate said key steps operators could take included sharpening focus on range, price point and serving style.

The Going Premium report, which can be downloaded for free now, includes more exclusive data and expert insights from CGA.