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Alcohol sales outperform soft drinks on first weekend back

Published:  13 July, 2020

Sales of alcohol in managed pubs and bars outstripped non-alcoholic drinks on the 4 July weekend, it has been revealed, with beer becoming the celebratory lockdown-breaker of choice among punters.

Though sales of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were down across the board, alcohol sales fared a little better over the 4 July weekend according to the new Drinks Recovery Tracker from CGA.

Beer sales held up best, down 36% on Saturday and 43% on Sunday on pre-Covid levels.

“Beer’s relatively better showing highlights the struggle of recreating the draught pint experience at home, which has clearly left consumers thirsting for that first pint,” observed CGA’s director of client services, Jonny Jones.

Spirits performed roughly in line with the market on Saturday, with sales down 50% on pre-lockdown rates, but had a better day on Sunday, down 45%.

“However, Sunday is not as strong a sales day for spirits in a normal week. So this stronger performance on Sunday is in comparison to a lower base,” Jones added.

Soft drinks sales were down 58% on Saturday and 55% on Sunday.

The figures come from CGA’s new Drinks Recovery Tracker which compares the average daily drinks sales per site to the market average on the equivalent Saturday and Sunday in 2019, in this case, 6 and 7 July 2019.

The picture of drinks sales in managed pubs and bars in England is broadly in line with the total sales numbers collected by CGA’s Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which Harpers reported on Friday.

A sample of managed bars, restaurants and pubs including Prezzo, Mitchells & Butlers and New World Trading Co, saw overall like-for-like trading drop 45% versus the same weekend last year (Coffer Peach Business Tracker).

According to the Drinks Recovery Tracker, total drinks sales in managed pubs and bars that were open last weekend were down 49% on pre-lockdown levels on Saturday and 52% down on Sunday.