The WSTA said it was surprised at the on-trades performance

The WSTA said it was surprised at the on-trade's performance

UK on-trade alcohol volumes fell by 6% over the early part of the summer, but wine and spirits bucked the trend, latest figures have revealed. 

In the 12 weeks to 17 July, volumes across all categories fell to 6.2m hectolitres, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association found in its latest market report. On-trade sales by value in the period fell by 1% to GBP5.3bn (US$8.27bn). RTD volumes suffered the most (-24%), with beer volumes down by 7%. However, on-trade spirits and wine volumes were up, by 5% and 1% respectively. Spirits sales by value rose by 11% in the period, based on CGA figures. 

Meanwhile, off-trade sales in the 12 weeks to 17 August were up by 5% to GBP3.6bn, while volumes in the period rose by 3% to 8.4m hectolitres, based on Nielsen figures.

WSTA chief executive, Miles Beale, said that duty increases and “squeezed consumer spending” were still damaging the trade. “Given the record hot summer, the fall in sales in the on-trade is a surprise and underlines the need for an early end to the alcohol duty escalator to provide some relief for struggling pubs, bars and restaurants,” he added.

Earlier this year, the UK Government scrapped its controversial duty escalator on beer, but kept it in place for all other alcohol categories.

Single malt whisky, meanwhile, is performing strongly in the on-trade, with sales up by 25% in the 12 months to mid-July to GBP115m. Liqueurs are also continuing their popularity, rising by 19% to GBP836m.

Sparkling wine is still recording strong sales, up 14% to GBP433m for the 12 months to 17 August.

In the off-trade, total annual volumes are down by 2%, while sales by value are inched up, by 2% to GBP15bn.