Soft drinks and craft beer are driving growth in Scottish pubs.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association's (SLTA) Christmas and New Year Review reveals that 75 per cent of venues saw growth in those categories – compared to 63 per cent seeing growth in spirits.

The report, based on a survey of 600 pubs, also shows that 56 per cent of venues are in growth or stable while 44 per cent are in decline.

SLTA chief executive Paul Waterson said: "After a reasonably positive summer and strong growth in soft drinks and craft beer, 30 per cent of outlets show Xmas growth, and a further 26 per cent remain stable, but that still leaves 44 per cent in decline, which is a concern."

He added that 60 per cent of pubs had been hit by rising rates from increased rateable values, putting more pressure on village pubs in particular.

Waterson continued: "The impact of recent drink driving legislation, plus rates increases and minimum wage legislation makes trading in these areas even more challenging for retailers.

"This is reflected in our survey, where retailers highlighted government legislation on drink driving and changes to rateable value as the biggest macro-economic challenges facing their businesses."

The report also highlights that despite difficult trading conditions, retailers are still committed to training and investing in their staff with 85 per cent spending more in this area.