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10 most important trends and facts about the UK wine, beer and spirits markets

21/09/2022

As we look forward to the first UK Trade Tasting event in London in October 2023 we look at some of the most important trends & issues that are having the biggest impact on importers, distributors, & brand owners in the UK need to know about.

As we look forward to the first UK Trade Tasting event in London in October 2023 we look at some of the most important trends and issues that are having the biggest impact on importers, distributors, brand owners, drinks buyers, retailers that producers looking to sell wines, beers, spirits, and soft drinks into the UK need to know about.

- The UK spirit industry is worth around £11 billion and supports some 230,000 jobs, whilst the UK wine industry provides £11 billion to the UK economy and supports some 130,000 jobs (WSTA).

- The no & low alcohol category is the one to watch in the UK with a huge amount of new products coming into the market across multiple categories. Research body KAM claims the category could be worth over £450 million by 2024 and has grown 180% in the last year. It claims nearly a third (29%) of pub visits and 37% of dining out occasions in restaurants are now alcohol-free and 55% of UK drinkers now drink less than 10 units of alcohol per week.  

- The Top 10 most popular wine brands based on what consumers say they like to drink are Blossom HIll top with a 44% approval rating; Echo Falls 41%; Jacob’s Creek 40%; Moet & Chandon 39%; Dom Perignon 74%; Casilero del Diablo 33%; Bollinger 33%; Yellow Tail 31%; Gallo 30%; Martini Asti 29% (YouGov).

- The Top 10 most popular beer brands based on consumer approval ratings are: San Miguel at number one (53%); Guinness second (51%); Heineken (51%); Peroni (46%); Stella Artois (45%); Kronenbourg 1664 (43%); Corona (42%); Carlsberg (41%); Sol (41%); Amstel (40%) (YouGov). 

- The Top 15 most powerful wine brands based on their impact on the wine industry are: Yellow Tail first followed by; Casillero del Diablo; Blossom Hill; Jacob’s Creek; Hardy’s; Echo Falls; Oyster Bay; Barefoot; Wolf Blass; Campo Viejo; Gallo; Kumala; McGuigan Wines; Lindemans; and Villa Maria (Wine Intelligence). 

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- Sales of tequila are booming in the UK with over one and a half million bottles of tequila sold in the 12 months to September 2021, up 36% from the same period the year before. It has gone from being a cocktail ingredient to a popular sipping drink enjoyed on its own. Total value sales are now £33 million (WSTA). 

- Liqueurs are also on the march with saw sales up 27%, the equivalent of over 44 million bottles sold worth £561million, in the year to September 2021. The liqueur boom started in lockdown when people stuck at home turned to homemade cocktails, but has continued post-Covid (WSTA). 

- Vodka is the most popular spirit to drink at home selling over 102 million bottles in 2021, followed by whiskies at almost 86 million bottles and gin with over 73 million bottles, although gin sales are down 1% in volume and 2% in value after years of double-digit growth. Liqueurs are the fourth biggest seller and rum fifth selling 37 million bottles up 13% in volume (WSTA). 

- The demand for craft beer and local beers has seen 200 new independent breweries open in the year to August 2022 taking the total number of breweries in the UK to 2,426 but the pace of growth is slowing at 9.1% compared to 17.7% in 2018/19, says the HMRC (UHY Hacker Young). 

- Sales of English and Welsh wine have increased by nearly 70% in the past two years, with year-on-year sales between 2020 and 2021 up 31%, with direct-to-consumer sales seeing the biggest growth up by 265% in the past two years which now accounts for 57% of all sales, up from 36% in 2019.  There are now over 760 vineyards in the UK and 164 wineries (WineGB and WSTA).