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UK pubs and bars drink sales plummeted £18.3bn last year

Britain’s on-trade drink sales fell by £18.3bn in 2020, according to Fentimans third annual review of key trends.

The review, which presented data from research and analysis company CGA, showed that sales of drinks in the UK on-trade were down from £31.1bn in 2019 to £12.8bn in 2020, however highlighted that the trade is set for an “optimistic” future.

“With the unique challenge of the global Covid-19 pandemic and its wide scale impact on the hospitality sector, it seems like the distant past when the government introduced ‘sugar tax’ and the UK exited from the European Union. With any disruptive event, opportunity prevails, and a number of brands and operators have made headway, whilst consumer attitudes and behaviours have pivoted in an accelerated way,” said Eldon Robson, founder of Fentimans Ltd, explaining that “more recently, with the easing of restrictions, numerous indicators point to a more optimistic future.”

Robson cautioned: “We still need to navigate our way through the hospitality industry re-establishing itself,” but reminded that the sector will emerge “fitter” and go “from strength-to-strength” with “innovation, fresh thinking and adaptation to the new normal”.

The key findings from the report also outlined how in the short-term, elements that will help the sector include: Treats and trade-ups; al fresco drinking and dining; shifting times and visits for visiting venues due to consumers working from home more. 

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