Spirit-based drinks provide excellent sales opportunities for pubs and bars – but more can be done to convert consumers into the category believes UK on-trade consultancy CGA Strategy.

New research into the spirits sector by the company finds spirit drinkers to be the mainstays of out-of-home drinking there with 86% of spirits drinkers going out more than once a month compared to 67% of non-spirits drinkers.

CGA’s survey also finds only 19% drinking spirits between 5pm and 7pm compared to 60% between 7pm and 9pm. This could well be a factor in lower post-work sales of spirits, it states.

However restaurants seem to be an area of growth and opportunity with spirits sales growing there by 2.8% in the last year. The figure is 0.7% in ‘dry-led’ pubs by comparison.

“The opportunity for operators and suppliers that emerges from the research is therefore clear” states CGA Strategy, “create activation solutions in the post-work and early-evening trading periods and continue to educate consumers on the role for spirits and cocktails alongside a meal.”

CGA’s findings suggest that operators could capitalise on the high frequency of visits of spirits drinkers by ensuring the category plays a central role in the proposition by diversifying in range to add a greater variety of premium drinks and mixers and by refining the standard of their serve.

There’s also work to be done in conveying messages about the relative value and strength of spirits. Many people are unaware that the ABV of a spirit and mixer is comparable to that of more popular post-work drinks like beer and wine.

The exclusive research, carried out in September and generating 1,000 responses, was presented at the recent Spirits Summit in the UK by CGA Strategy’s Client Services Director Rachel Perryman.

“These new figures prove that spirits have the potential to become a far bigger part of the drinks mix for consumers and the outlets that serve them,” she stated, “By putting it at the heart of their offers, pubs and bars could generate even greater sales and win all-important loyalty. The challenge is to understand where, when and why people choose to drink spirits and to make them more aware of the superb quality and versatility of drinks available to them now.”

For more information about CGA Strategy call 0161 476 8330, e-mail ellie.quigley@cgastrategy.co.uk, or visit www.cgastrategy.co.uk.

Article from Drinks Industry Ireland Magazine, Source: http://www.drinksindustryireland.ie/spirits-drinkers-mainstay-of-out-of-home-drinking/