16% of UK consumers are ‘heavy drinkers’

9th February, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

Only 16% of UK consumers drank 51% of the alcohol consumed in 2016, according to analysts GlobalData.

16% of UK consumers are 'heavy drinkers'

16% of UK consumers are ‘heavy drinkers’

GlobalData found that the 16% equated to approximately 5.9 million British drinkers, with a shot of whisky being the same as one pint of beer in terms of consumption occasions.

The statistics came to light following a debate around a 50p minimum unit price (MUP) charge on alcohol last month.

The spirits industry was dealt a blow when the UK Supreme Court ruled that plans for MUP could proceed in Scotland.

Health bodies believe that having a floor price for alcohol would be the best way to specifically target ‘harmful drinkers’, who are defined as those who regularly drink more than the UK’s lower risk drinking guidelines.

Amy Walker, consumer analyst at GlobalData, said: “A minimum unit price for alcohol would be largely aimed at cheap lager, cider and spirits sold in supermarkets and off-licences. It is unlikely to impact prices and sales in pubs, bars and clubs where prices are likely to already exceed the suggested 50p minimum unit price.”

The MUP bill will come into effect in May 2018, which will see a 700ml bottle of whisky (28 units of alcohol) given a base price of £14.

Drinks trade groups have lobbied against MUP for a number of years, claiming it would be ineffective in tackling alcohol-related harm, and have been engaged in a protracted legal battle with the Scottish Government over its approval of the policy in 2012.

SB assessed the likely impact it will have on alcohol sales in Scotland and whether it will spread to the rest of the UK.

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