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On-trade hit by decline in spirits sales across all venues

Published:  17 September, 2014

Declining year-on-year spirits sales in the on-trade will have brand owners hoping for a substantial pick up in the last few months of the year leading up to Christmas.

The latest market report from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, that covers both the last year and detailed analysis of the last 12 weeks for trading, is disappointing reading for spirits producers and suppliers.

The report, which uses CGA data track the on-trade, reveals that spirits sales are down 6% in the last quarter and 2% for the year.

Vodka's rise and now fall continues with sales down a further 7% in the last 12 weeks against a 2% decline over the year. The trend for flavoured vodka appears to be on the wane with a 25% drop in the last 12 weeks.

Whisky has not done any better with an annual decline in sales in the on-trade of 3% and 9% in the last 12 weeks. Malt whisky, however, is a more positive story with annual sales up 11% and quarter sales showing 6% growth. Demand for imported whisky has dropped 6% in the last quarter.

The liqueur market is doing even worse with a 14% decline in the last quarter and 5% over the year. The figures are particularly disappointing considering the growth in cocktails but is driven by  21% decline in sales of cream liqueurs.

Tequila is the surprise best performing on-trade spirits category with sales up 16% on the year and a very encouraging 23% jump in the last quarter.

Gin, which continues to attract new brands to the category, is also a good news story for the spirits sector with an annual increase of 5% for the year and a boost of 10% in the last quarter. Rum is also seeing positive growth, of 1% for the year and the quarter, particularly in the golden, up 10% in the last quarter, and dark rum, up 5%, categories.

Sales of spirits are suffering in all types of venue with wholesale declines. Hotels and proprietary clubs are both down 11% in the last quarter and managed pubs 8%.