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Wine is now the UK's most popular alcohol drink with 30 million regular drinkers

Published:  31 January, 2015

Wine is now the most popular alcohol drink with 60% of adults, according to a new poll commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.



Wine is now the most popular alcohol drink with 60% of adults, according to a new poll commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. 

What's more wine is also the most popular drink in the majority of age groups as it is now seen as a mainstream choice rather than something just for experts and connoisseurs. The WSTA estimates there are now over 30 million regular wine consumers in the UK.

The study also found:

  • Over half of consumers in every UK region chose wine as their drink of choice
  • Wine is now the preferred drink of choice for more 25-34 year olds than ever before, with over half (57%) choosing wine over other alcoholic products
  • UK consumers are unware of the scale of the English wine industry with 50% thinking that there are fewer than 100 vineyards in the UK. The real figure is 448, producing 4.5 million bottles a year

The study was carried out as part of the WSTA's ongoing Drop the Duty campaign to see a cut in wine and spirits duty by 2% in the March Budget. Its consumer poll found that almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers think alcohol duty is too high.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "Our polling shows that regardless of the stereotypes, wine is now the nation's favourite drink and is enjoyed by a majority of people across all ages, regions and social classes.

"While our consumption of alcohol continues to fall, wine is our new favourite drink and, with the global emergence of British wine and food products, we are calling on the Chancellor to drop alcohol duty by 2% at the Budget in March. By cutting the duty on wine, the Chancellor would provide welcome relief for a growing British industry and a drink much loved by millions of consumers, as well as generating an increase of more than £1billion annually for the public finances."

Matthew Jukes, wine critic for the Daily Mail, said of the research: "This polling finally dispels the myth that wine is elitist. It is the most popular alcoholic drink in the UK, which makes the fact that it is so highly taxed a complete anomaly. Why should consumers be paying so much for a bottle of wine, when we all know how much cheaper a really great quality wine is when we go abroad for our holidays?

"A tax cut on the most popular alcoholic drink in the UK will help everyone. It will help industry, pubs, restaurants and, most importantly, the consumer. A tax cut will help winemakers all over the world improve the quality of what goes into the bottle - meaning UK consumers will get better value for money."

An economic study for the WSTA by EY shows that if the wine industry was given a 2% cut in duty at the next Budget, over 10,000 additional jobs would be created across the supply chain, from English and Welsh vineyards and wineries, to pubs, hotels and restaurants.

The Chancellor would also receive an increase of more than £1 billion for the public finances.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This revealing poll shows just how harshly British consumers are treated when they want to enjoy a well-earned tipple. Politicians always talk about a cost of living crisis, but they make it far worse with punitive taxes on drinks that usually hit the poorest hardest.

"The Chancellor has a golden opportunity in the upcoming Budget to drop the duty and give hard-pressed taxpayers a break."