England may be out, but sales of booze are still buoyant

Brewers and retailers continued to score big volume gains in week two of the World Cup - but may have paid a penalty in lower margins.

In the week England’s World Cup dreams were shattered, lager was up 28.9% by volume on the same period a year ago, as value rose 24.6% [IRI w/e 21 June 2014]. The gap between volume and value gains was even more marked in ale, sales of which rose 22.6% and 14% respectively.

While total BWS sales were down £31.7m on the first week of the tournament - when lager rose 50% year on year - the World Cup continued to help most alcohol categories “power ahead”, said Tim Wilson, MD of Wilson Drinks Report.

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“With value growth a bit lower than volume for lager, and significantly lower for ale and spirits, this indicates emphasis remains more on volume than margin,” he added.

Cider has grown faster than lager, with value growth (31.3%) ahead of volume (30.1%).

Sales of cola, meanwhile, rose 9% and contributed to £6m in extra soft drink sales compared with a year ago. This was a considerable slowdown on the first week of the World Cup, when cola rose 25% and soft drink category sales were up more than £14m on the previous year.

In food, two of the big sellers of week one - scotch eggs and pork pies - fell, but pizza, meat pies and pasties did better. “This may be down to the earlier kick-off, so close to dinner time,” said IRI strategic insight director Tim Eales. “Or maybe we needed a more substantial bite to keep the tension at bay.”

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