Posted on Monday 7 January 2019 by John Mulgrew

CColin

Almost two thirds of Northern Ireland’s pub and restaurant trade have seen an increase in drink sales over the Christmas period, according to a fresh snap poll.

Hospitality Ulster said more than 60% of businesses who responded reported an increase in beverage sales this year compared to the same period in 2017, with 29% of businesses showing an increase in sales of more than 10%.

And in food, more than half of those responding reported an increase in 2018 Christmas trade, with 22% showing an increase of more than 10%.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said the “figures in general are quite heartening after what has been quite a difficult year for business in Northern Ireland”.

“The positive survey results demonstrate a clear resilience in the industry and a willingness to adapt and plan ahead with great offers of food, drink and entertainment put on over the festive season.

“I think the fact that trade was up for many members shows that people really do enjoy the experience of a night out. We are seeing a boom in craft products like gin and beer, where people enjoy sampling a wide range of different types of drinks.

“We have also seen a sharp increase in non-alcoholic spirits and beers. Customers are seeking the overall experience, rather than just the product.

“Food sales continue to grow and again that comes down to the wide and growing range on offer out there, right across Northern Ireland.”

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