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Drinks trade backs England to drive sales during World Cup

Published:  19 June, 2014

The drinks trade is eagerly anticipating tonight's England match to drive beer consumption across the on and off-trade - although one in 10 pub goers will choose wine as their match tipple.

World Cup football matchFootball fans watch England World Cup matchBoth the on and off-trade is hoping England get through to the next stage in the World Cup in order to further boost sales.

Publicans across the country will be hoping to replicate the success of England's first World Cup match - aside from the score - after consumers spent around £20 million during last week's game.

The British Beer & Pub Association estimated that around three million enjoyed the World Cup in the pub last Saturday, with six million extra pints of beer sold, and £20 million generated. On-trade analysts CGA Strategy said while beer sales should grow 35% over the course of the World Cup, with lager the preferred tipple of 40% of pub-goers, a further 10% will opt for wine.

Off-trade analysts Nielsen said that typically consumption of lager - the biggest seller during the football tournament - soars ahead of kick off and in the first few weeks before arriving at a hangover period. Beer sales are forecast to rise by 500,000hl compared to 2013, although this will be offset by a four-week lag, unless there is a second bout of good weather, which may help sustain the increase.

Jon Sheppard, senior client manager at Nielsen, said the increase "does have an effect on volumes post the tournament where sales slump as many households still have fridges with a lot of beer still in them (when England are inevitably knocked out in a very unjust manner). I call this the 'hangover' period. In simple terms, the World Cup can be divided into a 12-week period: four weeks pre (anticipation), four weeks during (tournament) and four weeks post (hangover)."

Tim Wilson, managing director of Wilson Drinks Report, commented ahead of the England game against Uruguay: "At the moment we have all the planets aligned: the weather is predictably hot, the football is exciting and England are still in the tournament. The retailers are all pushing the core beer categories, and sales appear to be well up on last year. A kick off time of 8pm tonight actually suits both off-trade and on-trade retailers, while a convincing win by England could drive a significant spike in sales over the weekend as fans stock up for the final group match on Tuesday.

"Historically the World Cup has had a much less significant impact on sales of still wine, as many consumers switch to the beer and cider categories. At the moment we don't expect this year to be any different, although the sunny weather is always good for sales of rosé wine."

BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: "Both brewers and pubs are really getting into the spirit to ensure that customers get the most out of this great event. If England does well, this will create a feel-good factor, and pubs are putting themselves in a position to reap the rewards."

Britain's brewers have produced a number of special World Cup beers including Fullers' Two Halves;  Batemans' England Expects;  JW Lees' Braziliant bitter and Caledonian Brewery's Road to Rio.