With the UK’s National Beer Day on 15th June fast approaching, CGA’s On-Premise Measurement Service (OPMS) shows that this might not be the only thing the category has to be cheerful about.

After many successive years of year-on-year volume decline, Beer volume has stabilised on the year to April at -0.3%, with volume up by 1.2% over the latest 12 weeks versus last year.

Over recent years, we have seen premiumisation shape drinks categories in Great Britain, with value growing despite volume decline as consumers are increasingly willing to drink less, but better. Beer has been no exception to this and has even been a key driving force in premiumisation with the likes of Craft Beer and World Lager, which is emphasised by the number of premium and high-quality new product developments we have seen enter the market in these areas. Craft and World Beer saw yearly volume grow by +6.4% and +11.9%, respectively and add a combined £339m to the value of the out-of-home market.

But the growth of premium beer categories is just one of myriad factors behind the stabilisation of beer. CGA’s Coffer Peach Business Tracker shows that wet-led venues – considered the traditional Beer heartland— have been driving like-for-like growth in the managed sector. Pubs consistently outperformed restaurants over 2018 with rolling Moving Annual Total (MAT)  like-for-like growth up by +1.7% over 2018. This continued through 2019, particularly with the Easter heatwave boosting sales in the wet-led sector, with this May being the first time pubs in the cohort have failed to outperform restaurants since August 2018.

CGA’s BrandTrack also shows that beer is recruiting more and more drinkers to the category, with an additional 1.3million consumers drinking beer out-of-home compared to last year. When we delve into this a bit further with CGA’s MATCH consumer segmentation, which profiles consumers by their on-trade behaviours, we can see that beer consumers have a higher proportion of ‘Trending Tastemakers’ and ‘Sparkling Socialisers’ than last year, who now make up over a quarter of all beer drinkers. These two groups are more engaged with the trade and eat and drink out more frequently than the typical drinker, spending more when they do. This suggests there is a bright future for beer, with it resonating with consumers that are in touch with new trends, going out regularly and driven by quality, which is reflected in the growth of premium beer categories.

Ultimately, over one in every three drinks sold in the on-trade is a pint or bottle of beer and with more and more people engaged with the category, it certainly looks like positivity is brewing.

Cheers to National Beer Day! Contact me at mark.jackson@cga.co.uk to learn more about the beer category. I’m always open to talking shop over a pint.


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