UK’s pub wine & spirit sales worth £6bn

Wine and spirit sales alone are worth nearly £6 billion to UK pubs and account for 36% of all alcohol sold by value according to the latest figures from the Wine & Spirits Trade Association there.

This pub share of the alcohol market represents a 5% increase over the previous year’s £5.73 billion figure and is worth around £270 million to the trade.

The research, conducted by CGA Strategy on behalf of the WSTA, shows that there’s now on average 36 spirit brands behind the bar of a typical pub compared to draught beer which hasn’t seen any average increase in brands on the bar and still wine which has added an average of one brand to the bar, according to the WSTA.

Sparkling wines have taken off in pubs in the UK in the last five years too, with consumers there having bought 24 million bottles worth over £600 million to the on-trade.

This market for sparkling wines was worth less than £200 million in 2013.

Gin can boast similar success, having hit £1.6 billion in total sales in the year to mid-June of which UK pubs claimed some £620 million, up from the previous year’s £430 million.

“The net sales increase by value in UK pubs in the 12 months to June 2018 was £349 million,” the WSTA’s Ciaran Myles told Drinks Industry Ireland, “Gin accounted for £190 million of that, which equates to 55%, whilst the spirits category overall accounted for around £4 in every £5 extra value sales”.

In contrast to this, beer sales grew by £58 million.

The Association has also called on the Chancellor to scrap his plans to increase alcohol duty in the upcoming Budget there, having frozen this duty in the previous Budget and received an extra £380 million in between February and August, up 6% on the same period the year before.

With gin now accounting for more than half the value growth in UK pubs, duty on wine and spirits alone accounted for some £820 million or £17,000 per pub and the Chancellor’s proposed 3.4% duty rise in line with inflation would add another £560 onto that.

This would add another 7p on a bottle of still wine, 9p on a bottle of sparkling and 26p to a bottle of spirits.

“It is proven that freezing alcohol duty has brought in more revenue for the Treasury coffers, not less,” commented the WSTA’s Chief Executive Miles Beale in pointing out that wine and spirt duties account for over a third of annual pub sales, “So a duty freeze makes sense for everyone – from the Chancellor, to pub and bar owners and consumers.”

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