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Drinking habits shift as UK changes from beer to wine

The latest set of data from the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that the UK’s love of beer has halved while wine has been on an upward trend for decades.

Beer and wine calories

According to figures compiled by Oxford University’s Our World in Data, the average Brit now drinks about 37 bottles of wine a year, but only about 124 pints of beer, which is half the number of 50 years ago.

Although beer has declined significantly in the past few decades, especially as the number of pubs has almost halved as well, it is still just ahead of wine as the nation’s favourite tipple, with 36.1% drinking it over 33.7% for wine as a share of the overall total.

In terms of spirits, the popularity has remained remarkable flat, despite a huge surge in celebrity endorsements, widening offers and new products. It sits at around 24% of the share of alcohol consumed in the UK, which is similar to the level in 1980. At present, Brits will have around 94 shots of spirits each year.

The news comes as the UK prepares for the festive period with the average Brit consuming around six alcoholic drinks on Christmas day alone, supping their first at around 9.05am.

But last year, data has suggested as much as a third of adults would avoid drinking at Christmas altogether.

The number of Brits who were planning to avoid alcohol rose by 10% last year, with 38% saying of 2,000 respondents to an Ocado survey stating they wouldn’t drink, which was up from 28% in 2021.

It comes as sales of alcohol-free beverages continues to rise, driven mainly by Generation Z and Millennials, with more than half (56%) of 18-34 year olds looking to avoid alcohol over the festive period, compared to a quarter of those aged 55 and over.

The on-trade and general sales were assisted last year by the decision to host the FIFA World Cup over the winter and festive period, with the final occurring just one week before Christmas Day. But it was only pubs that benefited from the trade, with cocktail bars and restaurants hit by the tournament.

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