Off-trade On-trade

Wine & spirits 42% of UK alcohol sales

There are now three working distilleries in NI and 61 in England according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association in its recently-published 2014 Market Overview of wine and spirits. Wales now boasts six distilleries.

Wine & Spirits

Together, wine and spirits were responsible for 42% of the total value of alcohol sold in pubs, bars and restaurants in the UK in 2013 states the report (which reviews stats for 2013). The UK ranks sixth in the world for wine consumption (IWSR figures) despite a drop of 1% in volume to 142.5 million cases last year. But at 20.2 litres, the UK’s per capita wine consumption puts it down in 22nd place in the global rankings.

The UK ranked 14th globally in terms of overall volume consumption of spirits, up 1% to 31 million cases, but per capita consumption of spirits in the UK puts it in 41st place with a spirits consumption volume figure of 4.4 litres.

Vodka evinced 2% growth while whisky fell 1% but flavoured spirits and rum both grew 1% in 2013. Gin – 93% of it domestically-produced – grew by 3% while brandy fell 3%. Tequila showed growth of 9% with ‘cane’ drinks down 27% year-on-year according to the report.

The UK’s (+15) per capita consumption of alcohol generally has been dropping since 2010 and stood at 9.4 litres; Ireland’s consumption by comparison stood at 11.6 litres. Overall there’s been a 19% decline in the UK’s total alcohol consumption since hitting a peak back in 2004.


Alcohol choice

White wine remained the UK’s most popular choice of alcohol at home for women (34% over a four-week period in 2014) while it’s lager for men (39%). These remain the top choice of product when in the bar or pub at 17% and 36% respectively.

Over the whole of 2013 white wine was responsible for 45% of the total wine market in the UK with red comprising 43% and rosé 12% – all volumes down 2 or 3%.

Pinot Grigio and Merlot took first and second place respectively for white and red choice while vodka and gin took first and second for spirits choice.

Australia remained the top country of origin for wine sold in the UK followed by France and then Italy with the US and Spain taking up the remainder of the top five.



Wine was responsible for 35% of all alcohol duties in the UK while spirits were responsible for 29% with government taxes on alcohol overall being responsible for every adult paying £329 a year. This compares with £570.85 (€733.08) here in Ireland.

UK wine taxation has now increased by 54% since 2008 while spirits taxation has grown by 44%.

This means that the UK now sports the third-highest tax on wine in Europe and the fourth-highest for spirits.


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