Alcohol sales in pubs, bars and restaurants rose by 1.8 per cent in value during 2016 to £24.4bn, according to the latest figures from CGA Strategy.

This is despite a 1.7 per cent fall in volume sales over the same period, proving that all the talk of "weekend millionaires" is more than mere marketing speak.

Or, as CGA chief executive Phil Tate puts it: "Against a backdrop of sketchy consumer confidence and economic uncertainty it is a solid performance, reflecting... the continuing move towards more premium products. It shows that people are drinking less but looking for better quality."

Surprising then, that at the same time new Diageo research conducted among 500 licensees, found that 35 per cent of pubs are failing to "promote or highlight" their premium spirits.

Say what?

Over half of you (56 per cent) don't display the spirits you serve from a speed rail on your back bar and 43 per cent of you admit you could be doing more to improve your back bar range and maximise sales.

That's actually mind-boggling when you think about it – nearly half of you know you need to be doing more but just aren't bothering.

Well, here at Inapub we like nothing more than to help you all out, so come on let's do it.

Diageo is offering assistance to those who want help (get in touch with them or visit its Spirits Revolution website) but there's some small changes that you can make right now this minute that will make all the difference:

  • Declutter your back bar, for example.
  • Create "blocks" of spirits by displaying them by category
  • double bank your bestsellers; ensure mixers are close to hand
  • ensure you have premium options available for customers wanting to trade up.

And that last one applies across all your drinks, not just spirits, as those stats we started with prove.

They clearly show that premium options need to be made available, and visible, for all your customers across all categories - because it's not too late. There is still plenty of opportunity for growth in 2017 according to CGA but only if, as Phil says, "operators can curate the right ranges."