The volume of beer sold in Britain has fallen by more than a third in 12 years, with young people driving the popularity of alcohol-free drinks, a new report has revealed.
In the year to March 2019, on-trade beer sales dropped to 3.6 billion pints from 5.7 billion pints in January 2007, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.
The report, conducted by Marston’s, the brewers from Wolverhampton, shows that there has been a 30% growth in no / low alcohol beer since 2016 and some 40 new product launches in the last two years.
The popularity of alcohol free products is being led by 18-24 year olds with almost one in 10 (nine per cent) having already switched to sobriety, and those aged between 18-34 being the most likely age band to consider turning to alcohol free drinks (22 per cent), according to the Portman Group.
But while fewer pints are being purchased, people are spending more money on premium products.
“Premiumisation is impacting the Beer industry through drinkers drinking less but better,” the report says.
© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko The growing trend is that people drink less, but better quality beer
Figures show that British people spent £177.8 million more on 66.5 million fewer pints of beer in 2017 than the year before, while the latest statistics from 2018 say that gap is widening, with a further £279 million being spent on another 40.6 million fewer pints.
“On trade beer volumes have levelled out in recent years after a change in drinking habits, favouring drinking at home rather than in the pub,” said the report.
“Last year was a fantastic year for the beer category with the exceptionally hot weather and the World Cup providing customers with more drinking occasions.
“We expect to see further growth in ale from beers influenced by craft styles with more hoppy flavours, including contemporary keg beers, mainstream craft and niches craft ales, but classic lager brands will continue to decline as consumers drink less but better.”