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Weekly Newsletter from PROOF Insight

08 September 2023

Rugby World Cup boost for pubs; Pint at a pub a luxury for some?; ULEZ expansion & the night-time economy

Research news

Boost for pubs expected during the Rugby World Cup

64% of UK adults intend to watch the upcoming Rugby World Cup, taking place across France between 8th September and 28th October. A further 10% haven’t considered watching as yet but may watch some. 4 in 5 (74%) of those watching intend to watch games in the off-trade at their or a friend’s home, whilst 61% plan to view in a pub or sports bar. 17% of UK adults will be travelling to France to watch the tournament at some stage.

Lager is set to be the most popular drink of the tournament, with 55% expecting to drink it whilst watching Rugby World Cup matches. Wine (39%) and cider (37%) are also likely to prove popular, whilst stout (12%) is unlikely to have the same success it typically does during the Six Nations – likely due to the warm weather expected throughout the tournament. Asahi is the official beverage sponsor of the Rugby World Cup 2023, with 48% of those drinking lager during the tournament saying they are likely to consume the brand.

Source: PROOF Christmas Survey

Industry news

A pint at a pub could soon be a luxury for some…

The latest ONS data shows the average price of a pint of beer has risen by 38% over the past ten years. The estimated price in July 2023 came to £4.58, a £1.28 increase from July 2013. Separate research from CGA also highlighted that a pint in the centre of London is three times higher than in the cheapest towns. If prices continue to rise, a pint could be out of reach for many consumers as they battle rising household costs.

Sources: The Morning Advertiser, Propel

ULEZ expansion threatens night-time economy

The expansion of the ULEZ zone has been slammed by the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) for the “poorly conceived” midnight threshold. The charge runs from midnight to midnight, meaning that after midnight, drivers will have to pay an additional £12.50. Research from NTIA found that 36,990 night workers were at risk of two charges in one shift. There are also concerns about the impact on taxi services and consumers leaving earlier to avoid another charge.

Sources: The Morning Advertiser, TfL

Strange brews & news

The Great Ice Cube Debate: Is it right to put ice cubes in wine?

PROOF Insight put the question to wine drinkers and found that 23% like putting ice in their wine, rising to 29% for those under 34. 36% will put ice in their wine when they need to chill it quickly. But 40% are purists and never put ice in their wine, no matter what. Expert opinions differ. On the whole, it is considered acceptable, but at the drinkers’ peril – adding ice risks diluting flavours, so avoid adding it to premium wine.

Source: PROOF Insight Consumer Research August 2023

Investments, acquisition & openings

  • Loungers is opening its 200th site in Buckinghamshire next week
  • Jeremy King announces plans to open a new restaurant on the site of the former Le Caprice in London’s West End
  • Searcy’s Champagne Bar is to open a site in Battersea Power Station
  • The Berkely Hotel receives £25m loan to help it build back from the pandemic
  • The Pub People set new target for 75 sites as new investment bond opens
  • Blacklock is to open a site in Manchester

Sources: Propel

Product launches & campaigns

  • Lagavulin launches 15-year-old single malt whisky to mark this year’s Islay Jazz Festival
  • Stranger & Sons releases a Sherry cask-finished gin that aims to replicate an old fashioned
  • Polish vodka, Wyborowa, relaunches in the UK market but with a lower abv
  • Andrew Peace wine brand expands its portfolio with lower abv wines
  • Dhavall Gandhi, master distillery, launches own whisky brand, Kandoblanc
  • JD Wetherspoon is cutting prices of food and drink by 7.5% on 14th September to show the consumer benefit of a VAT reduction for hospitality

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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