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LWF's state of the nation report focuses on the recovery in the UK on-trade

Published:  05 May, 2015

London Wine Fair's second state of the nation report indicates that the UK on-trade is finally recovering from the Global Financial Crisis, but that the changes in consumer behaviour are potentially the new norm.

The report which was sponsored by Wines from Rioja and prepared by Wine Intelligence suggest that the on-trade is finally recovering following the seven-year recession. 

Richard Halstead, Chief Operating Officer at Wine Intelligence, commented:  "It feels like the U.K. on-trade is coming out of a long winter, but the cold winds of austerity haven't quite finished with us. The sales data shows all drinks sales are down over a 3-4 year period, especially in beer, but on-trade spending intentions are looking positive. So we're moving off the bottom of the curve, but clearly some way to go before we reach pre-recession numbers."

But the report also found that post the recession, informal establishments are now far more popular, particularly among young people.

The report said: "The on-trade has been diminished and is badly in need of innovation The recession has been instrumental in changing the face of the on-trade, with more young people eating out more frequently and moving the restaurant sector towards informal, "no frills" environments.

The research examined the success of "traditional on-trade formats"  which are blending with "brasserie-style restaurants serving more affordable and better quality food" which are currently driving growth.

Drinks have seen mixed success, with drinks sales overall declining potentially caused by consumers being "lured away by cheap supermarket deals." However, artisan and small batch products including craft gin and beers have done quite well with sales up 13% since 2011, according to a CGA strategy and WSTA Market Report.

Equally sparkling wines have seen a huge surge in the on-trade driven primarily by the success of Prosecco. Sales of sparkling wines increased 34% from 2011  to 2015, while champagne has actually declined by 2% for the same time period.

There will be an industry briefing of covering the more in-depth findings of the report at the London Wine Fair on Tuesday, 19th May at 10.30 am as well as 1,000 free copies being handed out on each day.