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Master of Malt reveals changing UK drinking habits amid lockdown

Published:  06 April, 2020

Master of Malt has revealed a “significant shift” in the drinks volume category mix as a result of the UK lockdown.

According to new research by the drinks eCommerce platform, the volume category mix has "shifted significantly" from the traditional spirit-dominated top 10, with beer having leapfrogged to third place as volumes soar, dominating six of the top 10 best-selling SKU places.

There has also been increased retail sales of pre-bottled cocktails, bitters and vermouth, as people try and recreate a bar drinking experience with at-home serves, said the business, which has been tracking the changing shift in consumer drinks purchasing habits as the UK government continues its lockdown approach to fighting the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. 

“Like the rest of the world, we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation,” said Jason Hockman, GM, Master of Malt.

“All bars and restaurants are closed, and many grocers are limiting the amount of alcohol customers can purchase. The eCommerce channel is playing a vital role across FMCG to keep people safe in their homes, and the online alcohol business is no different. 

“As such, we’ve seen a significant shift in what people are purchasing. Beer volumes have exploded, and we’ve also seen increased sales for pre-bottled cocktails, vermouth and wine. We’re working with our suppliers to keep these lines in stock, and with our valued logistics partners to keep the orders flowing.”

Master of Malt, which remains open and running as usual, said it recorded an order number uplift of almost 200% from 23-29 March - the first week the stricter social distancing measures came into force in the UK. 

According to the Master of Malt research, the top 10 categories and SKUs by volume from 23-29 March were, from top to bottom, whiskies, gin, beer, rum, liqueurs, vodka, wine, vermouth, pre-bottled cocktails and bitters.

Earlier this month, Master of Malt announced it was donating £1 for every order placed through the site to help people who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus crisis through a partnership with

Parent company Atom Group has also introduced an early payment programme to help small suppliers with cash flow during this difficult time.

In February, Harpers revealed how Master of Malt is looking to increase trade sales as a primary area of growth for the business in 2020.