Binge drinking sessions at the weekend are a thing of the past as customers spread their visits to bars, cafés, restaurants across the week, new research suggests.
Despite widespread predictions of doom and gloom in the on-trade, research by Datamonitor shows that UK customers are visiting on-trade establishments more but are drinking less when they are there.
A total of 3.9 billion visits to bars, cafés, restaurants and hotels to consume alcohol were made by UK customers in 2007 with 4.2 billion litres of alcoholic beverages drunk.
Matthew Taylor, consumer markets analyst at Datamonitor, said drinking alcohol had become an occasion for the whole week and was not just limited to weekends.
He insisted that operators should focus on selling premium drinks to mid-week customers as a way to increase sales, but warned that this trend would come at the expense of volume growth.
"Consumers are increasingly looking for enhanced sensory experiences and will trade-up," said Taylor.
"The on-trade can benefit by offering exclusive products and an environment not easily replicated at home."
Brits consume the highest volume of alcoholic drinks through the on-trade in Europe, with Spain a distant second drinking 2.4 billion litres. However Spaniards made more than one billion more visits to bars, restaurants and hotels than UK drinkers in 2007.
By Christopher Walton
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