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Heverlee 0623

Weekly Newsletter from PROOF Insight

22 September 2023

This week: Christmas 2023; Hybrid Working; Rugby World Cup

Research news

Christmas 2023: Consumers saving up to make it a special one

Trading in the lead up to the festive season may prove challenging for on-trade operators this year due to the cost-of-living crisis, especially since 57% of consumers say they will cut back on spending in October and November in order to cover the expense of Christmas. However, PROOF Insight research reveals that 49 million adults will be visiting the on-trade during the festive season, +1m more than last year, provided no train strikes and severe weather impacts social plans. Moreover, 1 in 2 (50%) consumers want to splash out this Christmas and are saving up for the occasion. With almost 10% of the annual on-trade drinks value generated in the last four weeks of the year, planning ahead is key to make the most of the festive opportunity.

Despite the cost-of-living concerns, consumers are still more concerned about the quality (52%) rather than price (45%) when selecting where to go for a drink/meal out this Christmas. Operators should ensure they offer premium trade-up options as over half (64%) of consumers are happy to pay more for quality food and drink during Christmas. Stout, world lager, rum, liqueurs, brandy, sparkling wine and classic red wines perform particularly well during this period as well as seasonal drinks with 71% wishing to see these on menus.

Get in touch to receive PROOF Insight’s Christmas 2023 report to help plan ahead for this year’s key trading period for the on-trade.

Sources: PROOF Insight’s On-trade Christmas 2023

Industry news

Effects of hybrid working continues to be felt by on-trade

When in the office, workers are less likely to venture in to the on-trade than pre-pandemic. 6 in 10 actively avoid having drinks with colleagues after work, they are less likely to take lunch near their office and work breakfasts have declined by 18%. Cities are particularly affected with more hybrid workers and less spend; spend in The City and Canary Wharf is down 16.6% vs. pre-pandemic. Figures from February show that 28% of office workers regularly work from home, with this rising to 4 in 10 for those based in London, the highest across GB.

Sources: ONS, MasterCard, PROOF Insight

Rugby World Cup boosts sales in the GB on-trade

Round one of the Rugby World Cup 2023 saw sales up +6.1% across Friday 8th and Saturday 9th September in GB pubs and bars vs. the previous week, as the average pub served an extra 37 pints, according to Oxford Partnership. Outlets with outdoor areas showing sports fared particularly well, seeing footfall increase by 17.4% on Saturday as sports fans looked to make the most of the nice weather. World and premium lagers proved to be the biggest winners, whereas stout sales saw a drop of 8.6% compared to the average weekend.

Sources: Morning Advertiser, Oxford Partnership

Strange brews & news

A prayer and a pint? Cornish church installs beer pumps…

St Ia’s Church in St Ives, Cornwall, has installed temporary beer pumps in collaboration with St Ives Brewery to host a two-week music and arts festival. The pumps will help to keep festival-goers happy, but they have caused uproar amongst churchgoers – particularly when the current vicar was pictured pulling pints.

Sources: Drinks Business

Investments, acquisition & openings

  • McWin, the private equity firm backer of high street bakery chain Gail’s, acquires majority stake in Big Mamma
  • Market Halls, food hall operator, announces plans to open two to three Market Halls venues over the next five years
  • Japanese restaurant, Ginza, launches cocktail and sake bar called Hiroo in its St James’ restaurant
  • Café-bar concept, Bear, will open a site in Ashbourne later this year
  • Itsu will open their biggest site so far in London’s Bishopsgate
  • Heartwood Collection, acquires two new freehold pubs, one in south-west London and the other in Lichfield, as part of its expansion plans
  • Heineken acquires significant minority stake in Served, the RTD co-owned by Ellie Goulding

Sources: Restaurantonline.co.uk, The Caterer, Propel

Product launches & campaigns

  • Mindful brand launches an alcohol-free Tequila alternative, Soldadera
  • Vault City has released a new beer, Vault Dweller, which claims to be “the sourest beer ever”
  • Tullibardine has added an 18-year-old single malt to its range
  • Torabhaig distillery has released a limited-edition batch strength single malt whisky
  • Johnnie Walker has unveiled a limited edition, umami-forward Blue Label whisky
  • The House of Suntory has released a limited edition 21-year-old Hibiki whisky

Sources: The Drinks Business, The Spirits Business

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

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