The value of alcohol sold in Britain's pubs, bars and restaurants rose by 1.8% in 2016, new figures have revealed.
The value of alcoholic drink sales climbed to £24.4b, around £428m higher than in 2015, according to research and insight consultancy CGA's alcohol sales tracker. This contrasts with a 1.7% fall in volume sales across the same period.
Growth in 2016 was notably high in the food-led sector of the market, with value of sales up by 4.4%. This follows extensive new openings of casual dining brands in particular, as well as significant improvements in the drinks offers of many restaurants. Sales in the drinks-led sector of the market rose by 0.6%.
Sales were also buoyant in the managed side of the licensed trade. Sales were up by 3.3% in 2016, driven by the efforts of managed groups to enhance their pub and restaurant brands. There was also growth in the independent free trade sector, with value of sales rising by 1.7%.
Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA Strategy, said that, against a background of economic uncertainty, the performance reflects "the continuing move towards more premium products".
"It shows that people are drinking less, but looking for better quality," he said. He urged restaurants, bars and pubs to provide a "considered, compelling and customer-centric" drinks offer that is also "interesting and distinctive" without overwhelming, to drive customer footfall and loyalty.
Videos from The Caterer archives