Alcohol Solutions, a specialist in drinks development and innovation, has reported a 30% increase in enquiries for its canning and bottling facilities over the last week, as the 10pm curfew introduction prompts a surge in demand across all sales channels.

It said the demand is three-fold: firstly it is seeing enquiries from pubs, bars and restaurants that are fearing the loss of income from reduced trading hours are looking to widen the scope of their offering with a ‘takeaway’ service so people can enjoy a nightcap or two at home.

In addition, supermarkets and convenience stores are also stocking up on beverages to cope with increased footfall as more people plan ‘at home’ drinking occasions and thirdly the company also notes that online retailers are gearing up for another wave of panic buying booze ahead of the festive season.

The company, based in Carrington, Manchester, said there is approximately a four-week window of opportunity left for brands to secure their product run at their new drinks development and packaging centre. With an annual processing capacity of ten million cans and bottles, those brands looking to bolster sales ahead of Christmas need to book before October 31 to ensure production and supply times.

Graham Gibson, Co-Founder and Director at Alcohol Solutions said: “As a nation we are going to experience a very different kind of Christmas this year.  Christmas parties will be virtual, last orders earlier and traditional drinking occasions like markets will be tightly regulated if not cancelled – all guaranteeing a continuation of the at-home drinking trend. Brands need to be prepared, both to fulfil their off-trade demand and, since the introduction of the 10pm curfew, the increased on-trade demand that we’re seeing for spirits & RTD beverages.

“We have a L5 canning line and British-made bottling line which is quickly getting booked up as we enter the run up to Christmas.  If orders come in after November 1 we cannot guarantee that production will be turned around in time for brands to fulfil their orders so we advise quick action to avoid disappointment.”

Premium, more unique spirit offerings are also gaining popularity as consumers continue to strive to find excitement and a sense of occasion amid the current lifestyle restrictions, he said.

“We’re also seeing a rise in popularity of innovative flavoured, packaged and produced drinks as people are demanding more from their spirits. Given that consumers have enjoyed experimenting and honing their drink choices over the last six months, in a post-lockdown economy, brands would benefit from further investment in NPD to tap into these changing trends.”