Consumers are rejecting mineral water, fruit juices and bottles of cola in pubs and clubs, according to the annual Britvic Soft Drinks Review, writes Robyn Black.

However, overall value in the soft drinks category was boosted through the on-trade in 2012, up 1.5% in value to £2.7bn, although volumes fell 3%. Last year sales fell 1% by value and 4% by volume.

Mineral water was the biggest category loser in pubs last year, down 17.3% in value to £72.8m and 20.1% in volume to 17.5 million litres, while fruit juice also lost out as consumers reduced their spending, falling 13.8% in value to £250m and 17.1% in volume to 31.6 million litres.

Carbonates remained the back bone of the soft drinks category in the on-trade, with cola taking almost half of all soft drinks volume sales but this was driven by cheaper dispense cola at the expense of the more costly packaged options that declined in both value and volume.

Pepsi continued to out-perform Coca-Cola in pubs, up 8% in value to £336m and 1.3% in volume to 73.5 million litres versus Coca-Cola’s 6.8% value growth to £301m and volume decline of 3% to 63 million litres.

The best performing category was energy drinks, up 28.7% in value to £192.7m and 18.7% in volume to 27.5 million litres, thanks to Red Bull, which grew 15.3% in value to £110.9m and 11.6% in volume to 12.8 million litres.

Juice drinks also did well, up 10.5% in value to £234.6m and 4.2% in volume to 36.3 million litres.

“It’s accurate to say the on-trade has faced continued challenges and a summer that failed to meet expectations, however, publicans should remain optimistic,” said customer management director Paul Graham.

“Behind beer, soft drinks are the second largest consumed drink making them a vital part of the on-trade landscape and are enjoyed by all.”

The data is from CGA for the moving annual total to 29 December 2012.