Heatwave sees liqueur sales soar in UK

Sales of liqueurs in the UK off-trade have soared in the last year, boosted by the summer’s heatwave and the craze for sharing colourful cocktail images on social-media, new stats from the WSTA have revealed.

According to the latest Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s (WSTA) market report, sales of non-cream liqueur cocktails rose by 56% during the summer’s heatwave, compared to the same 12-week period the previous year. Around 4 million bottles were sold in the period – an increase of around 1.4 million bottles year-on-year.

The boom has been boosted by the increasing variety of liqueurs available on the high street following the popularity of cocktails in the off-trade. According to CGA data, 74% of UK bars now offer cocktails, with around 98% of consumers buying cocktails when they are on promotion, either in happy hour or two-for-one deals.

Across the total on and off-trade, Brits bought the equivalent of over 42 million bottles of cream and non-cream liqueurs in the last recorded 12 months, worth £1.2 billion.

Bitter herbal liqueurs and red-orange aperitifs (which are widely served with Prosecco) proved particularly popular, the report said, as consumers copied cocktails they had consumed in pubs, bars and restaurants, at home.

“These drinks served in pretty stem glasses proved very Instagrammable and consumers were keen to share their snaps of the vibrant, colourful cocktails on social media,” the report said.

Retail sales of cream liqueurs, more often drunk over ice, also rose 33% on the same period in 2017, the equivalent of 1.7 million bottles.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said the liqueurs had previously been overlooked in the spirits category but the summer heatwave had produced a surge in sales.

“This is partly down to Britain’s long hot summer when tall cocktails over ice were a welcome relief in the heatwave. But the liqueurs boom has also been influenced by people sharing cocktail creation trends on social media with consumers keen to recreate these drinks at home.”

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