UK’s Shifting Spirits: Beer Fades, Wine Rises, as Generations Toast to Sober Celebrations
British Drinking Habits: A Decades-Long Transformation
Compiled data from Oxford University’s Our World in Data reveals a fascinating shift in the drinking habits of the average Brit. Today, wine consumption stands at around 37 bottles per year, a stark contrast to the dwindling 124 pints of beer — a figure that’s halved over the last 50 years.
Despite this decline, beer narrowly retains its crown as the nation’s favorite drink, with 36.1% of Brits choosing it over wine, which holds a 33.7% share. Spirits, enjoying consistent popularity bolstered by celebrity endorsements and an expanding product range, account for 24% of the UK’s alcohol consumption, a level that has remained steady since 1980. The average Brit now indulges in approximately 94 shots of spirits annually.
As the UK gears up for the festive season, statistics reveal an average of six alcoholic drinks consumed per person on Christmas Day, starting as early as 9.05 am. Yet, a growing trend towards sobriety is emerging, especially during the holidays. Last year, a survey by Ocado found that 38% of adults planned to abstain from alcohol at Christmas, a significant increase from 28% in 2021.
This trend is particularly pronounced among younger generations. More than half of 18-34-year-olds (56%) are choosing to avoid alcohol during festive celebrations, compared to only a quarter of those over 55. Alcohol-free beverage sales are soaring, driven primarily by Generation Z and Millennials.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup, uniquely scheduled in the winter, also influenced drinking patterns. While pubs enjoyed a boost from the football frenzy, cocktail bars and restaurants saw a dip in sales due to the tournament.