GuestMetrics released its report for restaurant activity during the 4-week period ending mid-May and on-premise trends were weakening. 

Traffic: On-premise trends were weak through the 4-week period ending May 17, deteriorating slightly from weak April trends. While the hope was that soft trends during February and March were weather-related, the continued weakness in April and first half of May indicates consumers continued to hold back spending for this channel. With full service restaurant and bar traffic down 2.7 percent in the latest four weeks, the question is whether higher wage rates and an improved economy will bolster on-premise sales over the next few months.

Share changes between alcohol beverage categories: Beer unit share is down 0.8 percent in the latest 4 weeks, wine share was flat, and spirits share was up 0.7 percent.  

Overall Beer: Beer unit growth was down 5.7 percent during the four weeks through May 17, a deterioration from the 5.3 percent drop seen during the last 12 weeks, and below the negative 3.4 percent growth seen during the full year of 2014. 

Beer Segments:  Premium Light’s y/y share has moderated from negative 1.9 during 2014 to negative 1.3 during the latest four weeks; conversely, Craft’s y/y share gains have slowed from 1.8 during 2014 to 1.1 during the latest four weeks; Imports’ y/y share is running down 0.2 for the latest four weeks; and Cider’s y/y share gain slowed slightly from 0.5 during 2014 to 0.2 during the latest four weeks.

Overall Spirits:  Spirits unit growth was down 2.4 percent during the latest four weeks, which is a deterioration from the 1.9 drop seen during the latest 12 weeks as overall on-premise traffic suffered. 

Spirits Categories: Segments gaining share include Irish, Brandy/Cognac, Tequila, and Bourbons/Blends. Segments losing share include Vodka, Rum, and Cordials.

Craft Spirits: Domestic Craft Spirits continue to take market share at an accelerated pace.

Overall Wine:  Wine volume growth was down 3.9 percent during the latest four weeks well below the negative 0.9 growth seen during the full year 2014. 

Wine Varietals: YTD, the largest y/y share gainers were Red Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Prosecco, and Moscato, while the largest share donors were Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Riesling

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