The weather this weekend could have a surprising effect on beer sales

Caitlin Morrison
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The Annual Notting Hill Carnival Celebrations Take Place
Revellers at the Notting Hill carnival will be hoping for a heatwave, but beer companies probably won't (Source: Getty)

With two of the summer's biggest events - the Notting Hill Carnival and the Reading Festival - due to take place this weekend, Britons will be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast as they make plans for the Bank Holiday.

The Met Office has issued a heatwave alert - which prompted a health warning from Public Health England - but this only applies until Friday. After that, the Met Office said, "there are signs of a trend towards an increasingly changeable theme", with potential for "more unsettled conditions".

This is probably not what festival-goers want to hear, and it also poses a problem for booze companies trying to gauge how sales will perform this weekend.

According to research from Aon Benfield, retailers selling rosé wine and cider will be hoping for soaring temperatures and minimal rainfall - as in 2001 and 2003, when sales of those products went up at the Reading Festival - while companies offering red wine and certain beer brands will be crossing their fingers for rain and low temperatures, as seen at the music festival in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

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The Notting Hill Carnival also enjoyed its best weather in 2001 and 2003, but since then, the carnival has had three years when average temperatures crawled along on or around the minimum average August temperature of 13.7 degrees celcius, with 2014 also being the wettest year since 2000.

And there are two products in particular which are linked to differing weather conditions.

“Beer and cider provide a unique study in the influence of weather on buying patterns,” said Kurt Cripps, global head of weather risk at Aon Benfield. “For example, a repeat of conditions like those in 2003 (when weather was good) could see cider consumption at an event like the Reading Festival or Notting Hill Carnival rise in favour of beer as sales of the latter tend to drop off beyond 26 celsius."

“Grocery brands have a huge amount riding on sales during August Bank Holiday. At Notting Hill, local grocery stores and high street chains make a huge effort to lure people into their stores. In 2014, Tesco promoted its Caribbean range across London, brought in festive displays and promoted carnival-friendly plastic bottles of beer and cider.

"Meanwhile, drinks brands have become synonymous with the UK festival scene and it’s well known that when the average temperature changes, or if rainfall is beyond a certain level, people will switch the drinks they consume or the food they eat.”

Heatwaves earlier this summer helped boost alcohol sales by 4.7 per cent year-on-year.

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