Cocktail sales have been at higher levels than 2019 in most weeks since the sector fully reopened earlier this year, according to data from CGA.

Its research has found they the popular drinks were worth 2% of all pub sales in August – more than twice the 0.9% figure in 2019, it highlighted in its ‘Britain’s bars and pubs: the state of the nation’ report.

Research has also suggested that consumers are now more open than previously to the idea of buying pre-batched and draught cocktails in pubs and bars, due to the fact they have become accustomed to drinking them at home during lockdowns.

Mark Jackson, client director, CGA Strategy, said one of the most encouraging trends to come out of the on-premise sector has been the growth in spirit sales.

Between re-opening and mid-August spirits grew their market share of on-premise drinks sales by more than two percentage points to 24.7%, as drinkers celebrated the end of lockdown with cocktails, shots and shooters, he said.

Liqueurs and speciality spirits grew their share by more than three percentage points, to 15.9% and 10.7% respectively, while non-flavoured gin, vodka and whiskey all lost ground. World lager also gained share, up 4.6pp to 20.7% of the beer and cider subcategory, with standard lager decreasing by 3.1pp.

Jackson said that among the key trends in the recovery phase was the focus on health, with Covid having intensified consumer’s concerns in this area, with 70% of those asked stating they proactively try and lead a healthy lifestyle – up by two percentage points on last year, while 75% think it’s important to have healthier options when eating out.

Low and no alcohol has gained on the back of this, with more than a third of consumers (36%) having drunk them over the past year – up four percentage points since 2019.

While the demand for premium drinks has not diminished, Jackson said it was important to remember that not everyone wants a premium offer, with a third of consumers (33%) thinking it is more important that their drinks are good value than pre-Covid.

Pre-booking is also a Covid hangover that looks set to stay around with 41% of consumers now more likely to pre-book tables for food and 29% of consumers more likely to pre-book tables for drinks.