Off-trade sees uplift in spirits sales as 10pm curfew kicks in

Flavoured rum and flavoured vodka were the stand-out performers in off-trade sales for the first week of October, with both categories taking share from the on-trade as a result of the 10pm hospitality curfew.

The latest data from Nielsen shows a spike in sales growth for various sectors within spirits. It also shows that total BWS growth remains stable, up by 19%, while impulse is growing at 22% in comparison to the same week in 2019.

Rob Hallworth, client delivery manager for Nielsen, said: “Spirit sales for the week grew by 20% and within this, non-cream liqueurs are up 74% on last year, while flavoured and spiced rum sales are up 60% and flavoured vodka 45%.

"We are now 10 days into the 10pm curfew. Are we seeing an impact?”

Looking at on-trade data for the same week, a recent CGA report shows the spirits category has been the hardest hit by the hospitality curfew, and this is likely to have driven some of the growth the off-trade is seeing in spirits.

CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker said the early closure of pubs and bars led to a 50% drop in year-on-year spirits sales across the week ending October 3.

The report stated: “With many drinkers avoiding crowded late-night and up-tempo occasions, spirits sales have lagged other categories ever since the end of lockdown. But sales of spirits fell further behind beer, cider, wine and soft drinks last week, sales of which were all down between 31% and 35% year-on-year.”

Nielsen’s off-trade data for the same week showed the spirits category recorded growth in both grocery multiples and the impulse channel.

Hallworth said: “Consumers are potentially moving these serves in home to finish the evening.”

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