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Consumer Research


Lager sales on the slide

Lager sales on the slide

Following a five per cent decline in volume sales since 2005, the lager market will fall by a further 8 per cent to 2012 to reach 3.65 billion litres - some 307 million litres down on this year's sales (3.95 billion litres in 2007).

According to Mintel, this means that the average lager drinker will knock back around 11 litres or some 19 pints less in 2012 than they do today.

What is more, value sales have dropped 4 per cent since 2005, to reach £10.9 billion this year and are unlikely to see any kind of recovery in the near future.

Senior market analyst at Mintel, Katy Child, said, "The traditional lager lout, with his beer belly and pint in hand, may be becoming a rarer breed here in the UK, as the lager market has well and truly lost its head."

"UK drinkers are becoming much more sophisticated when it comes to alcohol and this trend looks set to continue."

She added, "We are increasingly looking for different drinks for different occasions, such as wine with a meal, cocktails in the evening and champagne for a special celebration.”

 “As people are much more aware of the wide choice available, drinkers now realise that there is more to life than just a pint of lager."

Mintel's exclusive consumer research shows that only two in 10 (12 per cent) adults drink lager regularly and even amongst men, only one in five (22 per cent) enjoy this tipple.  In fact, as many as four in ten (42 per cent) never drink lager at all.

While we may be turning our backs on lager, cider is enjoying its greatest resurgence for a decade, with volume sales up by a massive 14 per cent in the last two years alone.

It is no longer considered a drink only to be enjoyed in the sun, with fewer than one in five (19 per cent) seeing it as only a summer drink.

Likewise, volume sales of wine have increased steadily, up 6 per cent between 2005 and 2007.  But it is rosé wine that is the real shining light.

Once frowned upon by all serious wine buffs, rosé or 'blush' is the true rising star of the wine world, with volume sales having increased 188 per cent since 2005, up from 17 billion litres to a staggering 49 billion litres this year.

Katy Child, said, "Cider and rosé wine in particular have sold well in the past couple of years, as people shift towards more refreshing flavours.

“These drinks are also often seen as less calorific, whether this is true or not, so people who are watching their waist will often choose these lighter alternatives over a pint of lager."

One of the key trends in the lager market has been the long-term shift towards drinking lager at home rather than in pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants (on-trade).

Today as much as 30 per cent of all lager sales are made through supermarkets and off-licences (off-trade), with the remaining 70 per cent made through on-trade channels.

This split has changed considerably since 2002, when as much as 80 per cent of all lager sales were sold through the on-trade.

Child concluded, "No doubt, this year's smoking ban in public places will impact further on our drinking habits, not least for lager which has always been best served down the pub with the lads."

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