Bar and restaurant spending exceeds post-COVID expectations across footprint
June 10, 2021 – As bars and restaurants across the country continue to reopen, Breakthru Beverage Group, a leading North American beverage distributor with operations across the United States and Canada, is seeing particularly strong demand for fine wine and premium cocktails across its footprint. Driven by Millennials and Gen Xers who are more comfortable dining out post vaccine, on premise spending has surged. On premise spending data in markets like South Carolina, Arizona, Florida and Virginia show a collective +6% increase in average sales compared to 2019.
“We’re seeing better than expected volume trends in those markets that are further along in the reopening process as consumers are relishing the chance to be back out with friends and family,” said E. Lloyd Sobel, Breakthru Beverage Group Chief Commercial Officer. “Consumers are not just going out more, they are spending more by opting for a premium bottle of wine or quality cocktail. Through our extensive portfolio that embraces a network-wide focus with market specialization, we pivoted quickly to help our customers meet this demand by revamping cocktail menus and enhancing beverage experiences.”
Breakthru relies on its best-in-class technology foundation to convert data to game-changing business intelligence that drives better understand of consumer behavior and put these insights to work in every market for supplier and customer partners. Consumer data has shown strong trends in consumer spending which is up 4% in March 2021, with consumer confidence also nearing pre-pandemic levels. Breakthru data shows nearly +$10 average price per case increase in April 2021, with four markets more than doubling that increase (AZ, DC, DE, WI) compared to 2019. Overall, premiumization continues to accelerate across categories with particularly strong growth in fine wine, ultra-premium tequila, mezcal, cognac, and North American Whiskey. Along the same lines, restaurant reservations were up in April in 9 out of Breakthru’s 13 markets vs the previous month (March). This is only expected to increase into the summer season.
“Even before the pandemic struck, we saw a sustained trend of premiumization in the fine wine category and a more educated consumer seeking out greater variety and a unique wine experience. Our Aspect fine wine team of highly-trained wine specialists has hit the ground running post-COVID offering a concierge-style service and a more specialized approach to fine wine that helps our customers build their wine programs to satisfy consumer demands,” noted Daren Cliff, Breakthru Beverage Group Senior Director, Aspect.
Consumers are also increasingly drawn to the story behind the brand. Breakthru takes the responsibility of representing all partner brands in the last mile to the consumer very seriously. Whether that’s an emerging, organic or local brand, using virtual learning and digital marketing programs to educate retail and bar/restaurant accounts and/or providing brand education training tools for sales consultants, innovative engagement plans have proved to be very successful.
“We have seen a large number of requests from bar and restaurant owners looking to re-open with refreshed menus featuring new, creative cocktails using high quality craft spirits,” says Alex Alfonso, Breakthru Beverage Group Beverage Development Specialist. “For the past year, many consumers have been stuck in their homes mixing classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or Margarita with standard brands. Restauranteurs and beverage teams are now looking to attract consumers back to the bar by adding innovative new cocktail recipes using brands not typically found on a consumer’s home bar. The appeal of something different, something fresh and new when developing cocktail menus this year complements the classics and bolsters variety.”
Breakthru Beverage Group is one of the leading alcohol wholesalers in the United States and the largest broker in Canada representing a full total beverage alcohol portfolio of spirits, wine and beer. Breakthru is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and supports a wide range of notable organizations as well as local charitable initiatives across its North American footprint. Across all markets, Breakthru aligns a nimble and insightful approach to sales, marketing and operations. Family ownership is active in the business and committed to being stewards of heritage and champions of innovation. For more information, visit www.BreakthruBev.com.