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Consumer Trends: Technomic Reports Weak Adult Drink Sales in Restaurants

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 12:00pm

CHICAGO (PRNewswire) — The overall softening in adult beverage is playing out more in restaurants and bars than at retail, according to recent analysis by Technomic. Adult beverage volume in the on-premise channel — comprised of restaurants, bars and other locations — contracted 1.3 percent, while retail volume declined 0.7 percent in 2013, according to Technomic's just-released Special Trends in Adult Beverage Report: 2014 State of the Industry.

"Consumers pulled back on drink occasions at restaurants and bars," says David Henkes, Technomic Vice President. "Wine and spirits were essentially flat on-premise, while beer declined. That said, there were categories and segments that did well on-premise, thanks to creative presentations and programs, and on-trend flavors and formats. Restaurant and bar operators have opportunities to position spirits, wine and beer offerings as a point of differentiation and grow sales going forward." 

The unusually harsh weather conditions during the first two months of this year resulted in overall foodservice sales declining 3 to 4 percent nationally and 7 to 8 percent in weather-affected markets such as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, according to Technomic analysis. As a result, projections call for drink sales in restaurants and bars to remain challenged in 2014, although Technomic Research Director Eric Schmidt sees continued growth in whiskey, craft beer and domestic table wine.

"These adult beverage categories, driven by unique and often food-friendly flavor profiles, are really relevant to today's consumer," he observes. "In the hands of the right bartender and promoted properly, these products can deliver on both experience and value. Although overall adult beverage volume will be challenged this year, we expect dollar growth from the ongoing consumer shift to more expensive categories, such as high-end whiskey and craft beer."

The 2014 State of the Industry Report is part of Technomic's Trends in Adult Beverage series, and provides a first look at in-depth national volume and sales information on spirits, wine and beer categories, leading brands and companies, as well as the consumer economic indicators influencing the industry, all presented with expert analysis and forecasting.

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