SOFT drinks enjoyed contrasting fortunes across the pub market last year, with significant gains made in managed houses offset by falling sales in non-managed and independent outlets.
The 2012 Britvic report concluded that a 2% increase in soft drinks distribution due to new openings helped managed pubs – described as the “heartland of soft drinks” – record value and volume increases of 7% and 3% respectively.
The strong presence of food in the trading mix of such outlets, and their ability to attract a family audience, are said to have been key factors in driving sales, as was the success some enjoyed with money-off vouchers.
But while managed outlets prospered, the picture was less rosy for their non-managed counterparts.
The decline in pub numbers was seen as an influential factor as sales fell 3% by value and 6% in volume terms. Independents suffered even more, with sales dropping 7% in value and 10% in volume terms, though mixers (the fastest-growing category in this part of the market) benefited as more landlords added them to their bar.
While clubs were affected by closures and the move by consumers to circuit bars, cafes and wine bars, soft drinks sales were said to have held their own due to the popularity of juice drinks, mixers, energy drinks and cocktails. In restaurants, sales dropped (3% by value, 6% by volume) as consumers ate out less, but the decline was less marked in hotels.