Opinion

More beer, cider & wine drunk claim despite UK’s wet Summer

Research by consumer experts Canadean Consumer reveals that UK residents claim to have drunk more beer, cider and wine this Summer than last Summer, ignoring the poor weather, rising prices and concerns about its impact on health.

The research covered 2,000 respondents and revealed that differences in attitude varied less by gender but more by age and social status.

The results show that younger consumers – particularly those aged 25 to 34 – were the main exhibitors of this behaviour. Twice as many people drank more alcohol than less in the most popular categories including beer (37 per cent more vs 15 per cent less), lager (32 per cent vs 16 per cent) and white wine (32 per cent vs 15 per cent).??

Meanwhile, senior consumers (aged 55-plus) demonstrated the opposite behaviour. They drank less in 12 of the 13 drink categories included in the study with cider being the only exception.

Another notable difference was that consumers classed as ABC1 (middle class) tended to drink more than in 2011 whereas those classed as C2DE (working class) drank less across all categories. This suggests that price may well have had a significant bearing here.??

According to Mark Whalley, lead consultant at Canadean Consumer, the results were somewhat surprising: “Given the weather, it wasn’t automatic that we would be drinking more than last year,” he stated, “In particular, cider has come to prominence in recent years for its ‘over ice’ positioning which works much better in the sun. Therefore, the relatively miserable Summer might have harmed it but in fact a quarter of cider drinkers drank more this year than last which is higher than in any other category. It seems its position as a Summer drink has become ingrained in the mind of the consumer, which is great news for the industry.??

“Of course Euro 2012 and the Olympics will have played a major part but this also demonstrates how many consumers are treating alcohol as an affordable indulgence in stressful times. For most, it’s not a question of being unaware of the health implications of over-excessive consumption – it’s simply that people are weighing up the pros and cons and deciding that drinking more is worth it.”??

One part of the alcoholic drinks market that suffered by comparison was spirits and mixers. Indeed, consumers were more likely to be drinking less gin, vodka, rum, whisky and tequila.

“Price will be a contributing factor” explains Mark Whalley, “but it seems as though in these circumstances – where many will have gathered together in groups in pubs or houses to watch the sport on TV – consumers just tend to favour the more familiar rather than the extravagant.”?

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