On-trade misery as diners drink at home

More evidence of the swing to the off-trade has been published by Nielsen, which says take-home alcohol sales have risen 3% while the on-trade has declined by 8% in the year to Aug 9.

The trend towards at-home drinking has been evident for a few decades, but the momentum has been increased by a number of factors: the smoking ban, a faltering economy, the recent duty increases and poor summer weather two years running.

OLN reported last week that despite falling consumer confidence, specialist wine merchants are doing well as consumers dine at home to save money and allow themselves to spend a few pounds more on wine to accompany their home-cooked dinners.

This was borne out by the Nielsen statistics, which show that wines priced £5 and above were seeing the biggest sales growth. Wine as a whole is up 5%.

Nielsen marketing director Jake Shepherd said: “Consumers who are staying in to drink as an alternative to going out are treating themselves to more expensive wines.”

On-trade beer sales were down 5% in value and 9% by volume. “With people cutting back on unnecessary expenses and another dreadful July and August weather-wise, we don’t expect to see this trend alter,” added Shepherd.