Information on UK alcohol consumption
- £21.1 billion was spent on alcoholic beverages to be consumed at home in 2018
- At least a fifth of all Brits admit to drinking three times a week
- 1 in 10 adults say they “never” drink
- Jagermaister is the UK’s favourite spirit
- Wine sales were £5.6 billion in 2018, making it the best selling type of alcohol in supermarkets
Our favourite alcoholic drinks
The sales value of a number of alcoholic drinks in Great Britain in 2018 is presented below.
|Cider & Perry||£0.6bn|
With £5.6 billion in sales, wine was the biggest seller in supermarkets and earned 46% more than the next biggest earner, spirits. Following from wine, £3.5 billion and £2.9 billion was spent on spirits and beer, respectively. For wine, that’s around £108 spent on wine per adult.
for the term “Prosecco” into Google in 2018, making it the leading alcohol keyword.
Being a distilled alcoholic drink, the alcohol percentage in spirits is among the highest. A spirit is typically 40% while wine is around 10% and beer is 5%. As long as you have a mixer handy, your spirits can be used to concoct a wide variety of cocktails.
Despite this quality, spirits and liqueurs do not appear to be people’s first choice of drink. With the most popular wine (Echo Falls) having 4.62 million consumers and the biggest spirit (Jägermeister) having 3 million consumers in 2018, wine is a more popular choice of alcoholic drink for Brits.
- The revenue made for spirits is about 60% greater every year during Q4 compared to the rest of the year.
- The average weekly spend per person on household spirits was £65 in 2016/17.
The most popular spirit brands
In 2018, Jägermeister was the most popular spirit brand, with an estimated 3 million users. British summertime spirit Pimms has the second most consumers, with over 2.8 million consumers.
|Spirit brands||Number of users|
|Archers Peach Schnapps||1,639,000|
|Crabbies Ginger Wine||913,000|
|Stones Ginger Wine||856,000|
|Jose Curevo Tequila||832,000|
Spending on spirits based on household income
The graph displays how much is spent weekly on spirits that are brought home by people in different decile groups in the UK in 2017/2018. The most that is spent on spirits was £3.20 weekly, amounting to £166 per year.
|Gross income decile group||Average weekly household expenditure|
|Lowest ten percent||£1.00|
|Highest ten percent||£3.20|
In contrast, the lowest 10% spent £1.00 weekly on spirits, meaning they’re spending £114 less on spirits and liqueurs every year than the highest spending decile group.
The UK’s most popular still wines in 2018 are presented below by the number of consumers. The biggest wine brand in 2018 was Echo Falls, with 4.62 million annual consumers – 54% higher than the number of consumers of the most popular spirit, Jägermeister.
|Wine brand||Number of consumers|
The health implications of drinking
With alcohol being a causal factor in over 60 medical conditions, including various cancers, depression and high blood pressure, you should not exceed the maximum alcohol limit of 14 units a week. With only 29% of men and 36% of women coming close to guessing the number of calories in alcoholic drinks to within 50% of the true figure, it is likely that the UK population is uneducated in the health implications of drinking excessively.
- In 2016, there were over 9,000 alcohol-related deaths, with mortality rates highest among people aged 55–69.
- Alcohol-related deaths make up 14% of all deaths of 20- to 39-year-olds worldwide in 2018.
- There were 338,000 hospital admissions due to alcohol consumption in 2017/18.
Drinking by age
In knowing the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, how many adults are drinking over the daily allowance at least once a week? The recommended maximum daily alcohol limit is six units for women and eight units for men. The graph below shows how many times men and women exceeded this limit at least once during the week.
|75 years and over||1%||3%|
Drinking by gender
Although more men drink excessively on a one-off basis, the data above suggests women are more consistent drinkers and rack up a higher unit count over the week.
HM Revenue and Customs
World Health Organization
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