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Weekly Newsletter from PROOF Insight

01 September 2023

Nightlife continues to struggle; Camden Town advert banned; Financial help for French wine

Research news

Nightlife continues to struggle as consumers’ budgets are squeezed

REKOM’s Night Index revealed that 35% of Britons have reduced their frequency of nights out since autumn 2022, primarily due to financial reasons. 50% cited increased living costs as a reason, whilst 43% cited more expensive bills, and 33% said they needed to save any spare disposable income.

Furthermore, those still going on nights out are reducing their spending. The average total spend on a night out is down -0.2% on March 2023, primarily driven by a -2.2% decrease in average drinks spend. Consumers have switched some of their drinking to pre-drinks in the off-trade, which is up +1.1%. This is reflected in the drinks decline in nightclubs, where MAT volume is down -15% on last year. In the same period, volume in pubs and bars has grown 2.5%, reflecting the shift away from clubbing towards lower-tempo and activity-led nights out.

The decline in nightclub culture is exacerbated by outlet closures. In June 2023, there were 865 active nightclubs in operating in the UK, down -13% from 994 in June 2022. PROOF’s own research shows just 16% of under-45s went to a nightclub in the 3 months to July, against 64% to pubs and 34% to bars. This is reflected in the type of occasion that consumers go out for, with 16% of under-45s out for a ‘big night out’ versus 43% a sociable catch-up. Venues that cater to different tempo occasions throughout the week will be in a stronger position to capture their spend.

Sources: PROOF Insight research July 2023, OUTLET, REKOM Night Index, Propel, CGA OPM MAT to 15.07.2023.

PROOF Insight: On-Trade Research

Industry news

Camden Town Brewery TV ad banned

A TV ad for Camden Town Brewery has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ad is said to have been engaging for under 18s through the use of polar bears and penguins. Despite Camden’s defense that it had “an adult tone throughout” the ASA stated that its playfulness and bright colours would engage children. The ruling illustrates the risk in creating an alcohol ad that is different and stands out without violating ASA regulations.

Sources: Drinks Business, Advertising Standards Authority, Camden Town Brewery

Struggling French wine producers to receive financial help as demand falls

The French government announced a €200m fund to help struggling wine makers in addition to a €160m fund from the EU. A fall in demand has led to over-production in many French wine regions and consequently a sharp fall in prices. In the GB on-trade, French wine volume has fallen 7% year-on-year, underperforming total wine (-0.7%). The fund aims to give wine producers revenue streams but the French government has also put in place vine pull schemes to encourage growers to adapt to change in demand.

Sources: The Guardian, CGA OPM MAT to 15.07.23

Strange brews & news

Scientific experiment debunks the ‘beer goggles’ myth

A research study has debunked the myth that after consuming alcohol other people appear better looking. Participants who received enough alcohol to raise their blood alcohol concentration to 0.08%, tended not to vote other people’s attractiveness as any higher than an alcohol-free control group. However, they were more likely to interact with those found attractive.

Sources: The Guardian

Investments, acquisition & openings

  • Breal Group, a London investment firm, acquires We Are Bar. So far this year, the group has acquired Brew By Numbers, Black Sheep Brewery, Brick Brewery and Vinoteca
  • JD Wetherspoons announces two new sites, including one in in Heathrow’s Terminal 4
  • Brave New Spirits, Glasgow-based whisky bottler and blender, gets go-ahead to build a net-zero single malt distillery in Campbeltown
  • Shepherd Neame has reopened the historic pub The Duke of Cumberland in Whitstable, Kent after a £1.8m makeover
  • Leeds-based Escapism Bars are entering Manchester with two new sites
  • Itsu sees opportunity to double its estate, planning 20 new openings in 2024
  • Gin producer Whitby Distillery in Yorkshire is to open a new £1.8m distillery and visitor centre

Sources: Propel, The Spirits Business, The Morning Advertiser

Product launches & campaigns

  • Ross & Squibb Distillery to launch its seventh annual release in its Remus Repeal Reserve Bourbon collection
  • Zonin1821 releases Limoneto Spritz, a pre-mixed 11% abv aperitivo, as well as Zonin Cuvée Zero, an alcohol-free grape-based sparkling drink
  • Soft drinks producer, Marlish Waters, has added Sparkling Pint Grapefruit to its canned-at-source spring water range
  • Cawston Press has launched a limited-edition tropical flavour of Pineapple & Grapefruit
  • Diageo has launched Captain Morgan Spiced Gold 0.0%, the first dark alcohol-free ‘spirit’ in the portfolio
  • Hooch has launched a new range of caffeinated RTD alcoholic drinks, Soopa Hooch. The range includes Darkest Berry, Electric Lemonade and Twisted Tropical

Sources: The Spirits Business, The Drinks Business, Beverage Daily

To keep up-to-date on the latest drinks industry research and news, follow PROOF Insight on LinkedIn.

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