Alcohol statistics

Information on UK alcohol consumption

From cracking open a cold one in summer to sipping on mulled wine in the winter months, us Brits use any excuse to finish another bottle. However, frequent spending on booze can soon rack up, so getting into habits like drinking at happy hour or using discount codes can be an excellent way to save your pounds. To find out a bit more about our drinking habits, we’ve pooled data on our favourite drinks, how much we’re consuming every week and the implications of unhealthy drinking habits.
  • £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.

Drink Sales value
Wine £5.6bn
Spirits £3.5bn
Beer £2.9bn
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.

201,000 searches

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
Jägermeister 3,009,000
Pimms No.1 2,836,000
Malibu 2,435,000
Southern Comfort 1,766,000
Any Martini 1,652,000
Archers Peach Schnapps 1,639,000
Sourz 1,252,000
Aperol 990,000
Crabbies Ginger Wine 913,000
Stones Ginger Wine 856,000
Jose Curevo Tequila 832,000
Campari 670,000
After Shock 664,000
Other Tequila 661,000
Luxurado Sambuca 648,000

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
Second decile £1.10
Third decile £1.80
Fourth decile £1.70
Fifth decile £2.20
Sixth decile £2.30
Seventh decile £1.70
Eighth decile £2.50
Ninth decile £2.20
Highest ten percent £3.20
Undoubtedly with more of their income available to spend on luxury goods than other decile groups, the highest 10% income group were willing to spend this £3.20 weekly.

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
Echo Falls 4.62mill
Blossom Hill 4.49mill
Jacob's Creek 4.21mill
Hardy's 3.44mill
Gallo Family 3.01mill
Wolf Blass 2.32mill
Tesco 1.69mill
Kumala 1.68mill
Sainsbury's 1.56mill
First Cape 1.47mill
Lindemans 1.39mill
Banrock 1.24mill
JP Chenet 1.15mill
Black Tower 0.98mill
With the top 3 wines all having over 4.2 million consumers, they are all significant market leaders.

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.

Age group Female Male
16-24 years 14% 20%
25-34 years 15% 26%
35-44 years 13% 21%
45-54 years 15% 21%
55-64 years 12% 18%
65-74 years 6% 11%
75 years and over 1% 3%
In each age group, men were heavier drinkers than the women in the same group. In the 25-34 years group, this difference was 11%, making the proportion of binge-drinking males almost double (1.7x) that of women. This same group also had the biggest tendencies for heavy nights out, with 10 times as many people exceeding their limits compared to the over 75 years group.

Drinking by gender

Women Men
64% 56%
The picture chart above illustrates how much of the male and female population are drinking up to 14 units a week.
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.


Office for National Statistics
HM Revenue and Customs
Drinkaware Trust
Pi Datametrics
Kantar Media
World Health Organization
NHS Digital

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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