Supermarket sales of bubbly soar by 50% in a month

Cheers! Supermarket sales of bubbly soar by 50% in a month as lockdown-weary Britons start celebrating and meeting friends again

  • Figures released today reveal demand for fizz shot up in four weeks to April 18 
  • Comes as pubs and restaurants happily reported a ‘robust’ return to trading  
  • Like-for-like sales were down just 24% on equivalent period two years ago  

Supermarket sales of champagne soared by almost 50 per cent last month as Britons began celebrating and meeting family and friends after the long winter lockdown.

Figures released today reveal that demand for fizz shot up in the four weeks to April 18 – though overall alcohol sales went up by just 1 per cent.

And in more good news for the leisure industry, pub and restaurant groups report a ‘robust’ return to trading despite only being able to serve customers outside.

Like-for-like sales in the week to Sunday April 18 were down just 24 per cent on the equivalent period two years ago.

Figures released today reveal that demand for fizz shot up in the four weeks to April 18 – though overall alcohol sales went up by just 1 per cent

It comes as it was yesterday revealed that pubs in the UK are facing a shortage of premium draught beer including Birra Moretti and Amstel amid huge demand in the first fortnight of outdoor hospitality reopening.

Industry sources revealed Moretti’s owner Heineken is now temporarily limiting UK pubs to ordering only three kegs per week going forward to cope with supply issues.

You won’t need a Covid passport to visit a pub

Boris Johnson has shelved plans to introduce Covid passports in pubs and restaurants this summer.

The Prime Minister has shifted the focus of the controversial scheme away from the hospitality sector, Government sources have said.

Officials have been ordered to concentrate instead on devising a system that will enable foreign travel and the reopening of sectors like theatres, sports venues and nightclubs.

The move follows a furious backlash from Tory MPs and parts of the hospitality industry about the idea of forcing people to produce ‘papers for the pub’.

The PM floated the idea of extending a new ‘Covid certification scheme’ to the hospitality sector last month, saying it ‘should not be totally alien to us’. 

And officials suggested that venues deploying the policy could be allowed to relax social distancing rules in return. But with political opposition mounting and the virus in retreat, Mr Johnson is understood to be turning against the idea.

More than ten million adults have returned to pubs in England since they reopened outdoor spaces on April 12 with punters particularly keen to enjoy a draught pint.

Pub landlords warned that the beer shortage issues faced by some landlords are a ‘serious problem that is affecting their ability to trade efficiently and turn a profit’.

Heineken UK told MailOnline that demand had ‘totally surpassed our most optimistic forecasts’ and their breweries are ‘working round the clock’ to deal with the surge. 

It is a particular issue for the 2,500 Star Pubs & Bars owned by Heineken which is now offering them alternatives while increasing production of in-demand brands.

Alastair Kerr, regional representatives coordinator for the Campaign for Pubs, told MailOnline yesterday that the supply issues were a ‘real shame’ for landlords. 

He said: ‘The beer shortage issues that are being faced my some publicans across the UK is a serious problem that is affecting their ability to trade efficiently and turn a profit.

‘Since reopening, pubs have faced an increase in demand from customers as many people flocked to pubs across the UK, so it is a real shame that some pubs are unable to stock some of their best selling products.

‘Pubs are struggling enough, with many opening on a financial loss and a beer shortage is the last thing they need. We hope that this is only a temporary problem.

‘It is essential that these pubs be able to get the beer that they desperately need, some of whom are contractually obliged to sell that particular product.

‘We also hope that the breweries that are facing a stock issue will be able to fulfil their orders and provide for their pubs that need to sell these beers.’

The data is even more surprising when data shows only 40 per cent of England’s pubs are open at the moment because the rest have insufficient outdoor space. 

Bar staff serve beer at the The Duke of Kent pub in London on the day it reopened, April 12

People sit in a pub garden in Canonbury, North London, in the sunshine last Friday

Of those that are reopen outdoors, only about 20 per cent of their full space is available, so they do not have anywhere near the number of seats and tables as they would for a full reopening – and are therefore nowhere near capacity.

Indoor hospitality in England is set to be allowed from May 17, before it is hoped all Covid-19 restrictions will end on June 21.

Responding to the beer supply issues, a Heineken UK spokesman said today: ‘Over ten million adults in England have headed back to the great British pub, with many treating themselves to a much missed draught pint.

‘Demand for Birra Moretti and Amstel has totally surpassed our most optimistic forecasts, and our breweries are working round the clock to deal with this high level of demand.’

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