Not tough at the top

Boom in high-end spirits continues, report says

• Cocktails are more popular in pubs in 2016 than last year, says William Grant & Sons

The value of premium spirits in the UK on-trade has grown to £1.1 billion in 2016, according to Scottish drinks firm William Grant & Sons.
The company’s latest Market Report stated that the trend towards ‘premiumisation’ has continued this year, with sales of premium spirits having grown 19.7% in value terms in the year to April 2016, compared to a 6.3% increase in mainstream spirits.
The growth of cocktails was also said to have continued, with a quarter of UK pubs now serving them, compared to one in five the previous year.
The biggest spirits categories in the on-trade were named as vodka (accounting for 32.4% of sales), liqueurs and speciality spirits (23.1%), gin (9.9%) and blended whisky (6.8%).
The gin, spiced rum and tequila categories were said to be growing at the fastest rates.
Outside of spirits, Champagne was said to have performed well, with sales up for the second consecutive year.
William Grant & Sons marketing director, Gary Keogh, said contemporary consumers are “appraising their choices with more scrutiny than ever before”.
“As the expectation of brands reaches a new level, it is those who are able to communicate with real authenticity and involve the consumer in a unique, personalised brand experience that will win in the category,” said Keogh.
The biggest expansion in the on-trade was said to be the growth in food-led outlets, with these types of venue accounting for 660 openings across the UK in the past year.