The Covid-19 Aftermath in the Drinks Industry

I’ve recruited into the drinks industry for over three years now and have spoken to some fantastic people within the business, many of who are still close contacts of mine.

No one knew how disruptive and deadly this virus would be, and I’m sure no one thought it would make its way around the globe at the pace that it did. The global economy has been hit massively and there’s been a distressing amount of deaths caused.

I wanted to highlight the effect this has had on the drinks industry in this blog and share it.



In summary, this has been devastating on businesses that rely on on-trade business. The closure of bars and restaurants has seen cash flow effectively come to a standstill for on-trade suppliers which could, unfortunately, put many out of business.



On the contrary, suppliers who supply into the off-trade sector are seeing a rise in sales. The spirit and mentality of us Brits never cease to amaze me – Global pandemic? Let’s booze at home and on Zoom to our mates (I’m very guilty of this).

Non-alcohol businesses that supply into the off-trade are also profiting, in particular mixers and soft-drinks.


Relevance to Supply Chain?

Forecasting will be a big issue in the future for businesses in both the on-trade and off-trade. What will businesses do in the coming years? Do they completely write off this year’s forecasts? It seems that in the on-trade it’s the most sensible thing to do as bars, hotels and restaurants should be back to normal in 2021.

Yet, from an off-trade point of view sales seem to have increased during this lockdown period, making it easier to predict next year’s sales compared to on-trade.


Market Insights / Trends

One of the main trends during this lockdown has been the increase in consumer spend across E-Commerce channels across all industries. Within the drinks industry, I spoke to Julie Buckley who is Head of Buying at ELICITE, an online premium wine merchant. She said customers are spending more on their products, this includes an increase of sales in Dom Perignon and Tignanello, Megan Markle’s favourite wine and fondly known as The Tig which would usually set you back around £150+ in a restaurant.

It seems that people who would usually go out and eat at restaurants or drink at wine/cocktail bars are finding they have more disposable income and are willing to treat themselves at home.

For now, it seems that having an online presence and a delivery service is a key factor in driving sales across all industries, and I suspect we will be seeing more businesses offering an online service moving forward.