According to the Marston’s On-Trade Beer Report, beer consumption is down, but spend is up by nearly £200m.
Premiumisation is still impacting the beer category through consumers drinking less, but choosing quality products when they do – 72% of lager NPD is now premium. This year, drinkers in the on-trade have consumed 66.5m fewer pints of beer than they did last year, but have spent £177.8m more.
The report stresses the importance of operators understanding their customers in order to sell more beer. According to Marston’s, ale drinkers are by far the most experimental customers (57% of drinkers) and more likely to buy across multiple sub-categories based on occasion and seasonality.
Lager drinkers remain relatively brand loyal, with 41% preferring to stick to their favourites and 48% highly influenced by its availability within a pub.
For drinkers choosing a cask ale, the report shows consistent quality is the most important factor in choosing where to drink, followed by the range of beer and service. Despite this finding, a significant 70% of cask ale drinkers have been served off or stale beer, with 40% avoiding the pub and 39% steering clear of the brand thereafter.
Style remains the most beneficial way to range cask ale to maximise sales and appeal to more drinkers. When it comes to factors such as guest ale, 63% of drinkers want these to be available between two weeks and one month.
With consumers increasingly concerned about health and wellbeing, the low/no alcohol category has seen growth of 30% since 2016. While the trend towards moderation is being led by 18- to 24-year-olds, it is gaining traction with the mass market and more affluent consumers. The report reveals that drinkers prefer lower ABV beers in the afternoon and find them easier to drink.