Impact of lower alcohol intake on industry ‘significant’

20th September, 2019 by Melita Kiely

The impact of young people drinking less alcohol is “definitely significant” but consumer behaviour suggests a shift towards ‘less but better’ consumption rather than abstinence, a panel of experts has said.

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Young people are drinking “less but better”, industry experts believe

Speaking at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s (WSTA) 2019 Industry Summit, which took place at the British Library in London earlier this week on 18 September, the audience put a question to the panel of WSTA board members: how significant an impact is young people drinking less?

The panel comprised Michelle Brampton, managing director, Europe, Treasury Wine Estates; Pierpaolo Petrassi, head of trading ,Waitrose; Brad Madigan, managing director, Campari Group UK; and Tamara Roberts, CEO, Ridgeview Wine Estate. Alex Forrest Whiting, broadcaster, conference host and media trainer, chaired the panel.

In response, Brampton highlighted the need for innovation on low-alcohol products due to the growing number of young consumers drinking less alcohol, and the impact this could have on the industry.

However, the panel wasn’t convinced that the overall trend was towards total abstinence from alcohol, but instead “it may be [about drinking] less but better”, Petrassi noted.

“We know the generation we are talking about here [millennials and Generation Z] is looking for experiences. The generation before was looking for impact,” he added.

The panel also discussed the impact of Brexit on the wine and spirits industry, as the WSTA continues to advise companies to prepare for a no-deal scenario.

Petrassi described the Brexit situation as a “nightmare”.

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