Alcohol in UK coffee shops welcome

A quarter of consumers in the UK would drink alcohol in coffee shops if it was available, research from UK consultancy CGA Strategy reveals.

The survey adds to the impression that there’s a growing blurring of lines between the coffee shop, bar and pub sectors.

CGA’s survey found that young people in particular would value a broader offer from the estimated 4,200 branded coffee shops in the UK.

27% of those aged 35 would be ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to drink alcohol in coffee shops if it were available, against a national average of 25%.

The findings follow a trial by Starbucks of alcoholic drinks at its branches at Stansted Airport—a move that follows similar efforts by this and other brands in the US.

The findings highlight the opportunities for coffee shops to use alcohol to increase their footfall and widen the occasions on which people visit. More significantly, one in six (17%) who don’t currently visit coffee shops at all say they would be likely to visit if alcoholic drinks were on offer, while seven in eight consumers who already visit Caffe Nero, Costa or Starbucks also drink alcohol out of home on a regular basis.


Other findings from the in-depth research include:


  • Cocktails would be the preferred alcoholic drink to be made available in coffee shops, with 31% of consumers saying they’d like to drink them there. Sparkling wine (26%) would be the second most popular choice
  • Selling alcohol would not necessarily alienate regular coffee shop-goers either as those who visit at least once a week are more likely to choose alcoholic drinks than the national average
  • Cocktails alone could generate an additional £77m a year for UK coffee shops if they opted to become licensed, CGA Strategy calculates.


“With more and more pubs and bars selling high quality coffee, it’s perhaps only natural that coffee shops should respond by offering alcoholic drinks,” said CGA’s Account Director Dan McGlynn, “This research confirms there’s a strong appetite for them among consumers and if licensing restrictions allow, introducing them would give people more reasons to visit during the evening as well as the day. If branded coffee shops can get their offer right, there’s huge potential for them to keep guests loyal and increase their sales.”

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