Boo(ze)-hoo! Restaurant liquor sales fall for 3rd straight year

| by S.A. Whitehead
Boo(ze)-hoo! Restaurant liquor sales fall for 3rd straight year

Restaurateurs whose establishments count on alcohol sales for some portion of their income are probably quite literally crying in their beer these days. A new report from the Beverage Information Group shows that despite the improving economy, patrons just aren't drinking in restaurants like they used to. In fact, the report finds that for the third consecutive year, on-premises sales of alcoholic beverages declined again.  

According to a news release announcing the 2016 study, on-premises sales of spirits, wine, and beer were all down in 2015. In fact, last year marked the largest decline to date in these sales, at 2.6 percent.

This does not mean we've stopped drinking

While consumption of boozy drinks was down last year again, the sales of spirits and wine actually grew on the retail front. The Beverage Information Group said this reflects a trend of people buying more premium beverages. For example, the release said, although the volume of spirits consumed dropped 0.3 percent last year, the value grew by 2.5 percent. Likewise, wine consumption was down 0.1 percent, but up slightly in dollar amount by about 0.1 percent. 

Crying in their beers … kinda

Increased wine and spirit dollar, however, were not enough to offset the 3 percent drop in the volume of beer sales and 1.6 percent decline in dollars spent on suds nationally. The combined result for all on-premises alcohol consumption last year was an overall sales decline. 

So, what does this mean overall? According to the Beverage Information Group's report, our nationwide craft beer infatuation has had the effect of slowing the consumption of liquor on restaurant premises. The group reports that most people now are drinking at home, as indicated by off-premises alcohol sales numbers. 


Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Coffee / Specialty Beverages, Food & Beverage, Trends / Statistics

S.A. Whitehead

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of and after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.

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