JD Wetherspoons: Young drinkers turn to cocktails and vodka but ale sales tumble as older folk stay home


ALES of cocktails, vodka and rum have jumped at JD Wetherspoon, while ale and stout sales have plummeted in the last three months.

Following a record annual loss reported last month, today the pub chain said sales in the quarter to November 7 were nearly 9% lower than the same period in 2019, pre-Covid.

The company puts the shift in the sort of drinks being consumed down to age – younger drinkers are back in pubs, older customers are still staying away.

Cocktail sales are up 45%, ale is down 30%.

There has also been a 22% fall in sales of ‘Spoon’s famous breakfasts and a 30% fall in coffee sales.

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Last month Wetherspoon fell to a £155 million loss for the year to July due to the closure of pubs in the midst of the pandemic.

Chairman Tim Martin, an outspoken critic of government policy, said again today that there have been “no outbreaks of Covid-19, as defined by the health authorities, among customers in Wetherspoon pubs”.

One surprising trend lately, is that town pubs have done well.

“Contrary to some forecasts (including our own), trade has been positive in the centre of many, but not all, larger cities and towns – and negative in the suburbs,” said the statement.

Martin said: “Whereas we have an increased element of caution about near-term sales, ‘booster’ vaccinations and better weather in the spring are likely to have a positive impact in the coming months. The last 18 months have presented a considerable challenge to the hospitality industry, with many unexpected twists and turns.”