Beer has seen a huge fall from grace in the past six years – a victim of drinking’s increasingly moving out of the pub and into the home.
According to new research from Mintel, the market for beer slumped from £17.7bn in 2006 to £15.5bn in 2011, and volume sales were down by almost a quarter over the same period.
People in the UK have been drinking proportionately less alcohol since 2004, and pub drinking is now so expensive that it has become a luxury for many rather than a standard night out. More consumers have turned to in-home drinking but, unlike spirits and wine, beer has seen its volume sales to home drinkers fall away.
Jonny Forsyth, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, explains: “Beer has been particularly badly hit – it suffers from being perceived as less suited than its competitors for in -home drinking. This is because its male user bias makes it less of a compromise choice for couples than wine or spirits, and it is less associated with food matching or relaxing occasions than either of those drinks categories.
“The reason why beer is reliant on pubs is that it remains a core drink for young men – almost a rite of passage – and many choose it because, in pubs, the size and price of a pint seem so much better value than most other drink options.”
Mintel says that all types of beer are struggling,but that lager dominates the overall beer category.