Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Liberty report: Reversal of off/on-trade trends buffers hospitality recovery

Published:  03 November, 2021

Liberty Wines’ latest report has noted the positive effect of the reversal of the trends from the on to the off-trade over the course of the pandemic, with the growth in popularity of independent wine retailers during lockdown and an overall move towards experimentation feeding back into the on-trade and helping to boost sales.

As part of the 2021 Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report, which looks into the trends boosting on-trade recovery, Liberty highlighted several trends which has been in situ for some time, including the move towards premiumisation.

According to the report, wine sales in the premium on-trade continued to outperform the rest of the hospitality sector over the past 18 months, particularly in the three months to June 2021, when still wine sales had re-bounded to 88% of 2019 levels.

Spend per bottle also continued to rise in the premium on-trade and was significantly higher in spring 2021 versus spring 2019; while quality-focused Champagne also grew its share of premium on-trade wine sales.

“This indicates consumer interest in higher-quality wine and recognition that value can be found at all price points,” the report said.

Most novel in the report was the willingness of premium wine drinkers to try new and diverse wines, prompting a reversal of the usual passage of trends from the on-trade to the off-trade. This increased as the pandemic went on, Liberty said, with growth in popularity of independent wine retailers during lockdown, and their ability to encourage consumers to explore new wines, playing a major part in accelerating exploration trends that were already established in the premium on-trade prior to Covid-19.

David Gleave MW, MD at Liberty Wines, said: “It’s been encouraging to see evidence of a steady recovery of wine sales in the premium on-trade and confirmation that sustainable growth is achieved by refusing to compromise on quality. 

“We hope this report, which comes at a time when the on-trade faces multiple challenges, will offer valuable insight into wine list opportunities. We know how important it is that on-trade wine sales deliver both happy consumers and healthy profits and hope the report’s insights will prove useful in both areas.”

Liberty’s 2021 report looked at three distinct trading periods between 2020-21 lockdowns (summer 2020, autumn 2020, spring 2021).

It found that overall, wine sales in the premium on-trade continued to outperform the rest of the hospitality sector during the pandemic. The exception was during Eat Out to Help Out in August 2020.

Quality-focused Champagne also saw actual – and not just recovery – growth with sales in the premium on-trade up on 2019. Increased spend per bottle grew 5% in that time. Volume recovery was also strong with sales reaching 95% of 2019 volumes by June 2021.