By Mathew Lyons, Harpers UK
Wine has beaten beer and spirits to become the favoured tipple of UK drinkers, according to a new survey of 2,000 consumers from Yougov.
Some 81% of adults who have drunk alcohol in the past year have drunk wine, narrowly ahead of both beer and spirits, which both come in at 79%.
When asked to pick their favourite alcoholic drink, wine was again the favourite among consumers, picking up 28% of the vote. Beer was second on 23% with spirits coming in at 20%.
The result is contrary to assumptions, with 48% of respondents believing beer to be the most popular alcoholic beverage in the UK.
The favourite wine style among UK drinkers is dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, chosen by 41%. Second favourite at 38% are full-bodied red wines such as Malbec or Shiraz.
Prosecco outstripped Champagne 34% to 24% while English sparking was the preferred style of 16%.
Light-bodied reds such as Pinot Noir were chosen by 23%, blush rosés such as White Zinfandel by 22% and oaked Chardonnay by 17%. The dry rosé style produced in the south of France, for example, tied with English sparkling on 16%.
The survey also revealed that wine drinking is no longer the preserve of the middle classes, with its popularity matching that of beer among C2DE consumers at 23%. Spirit-drinking is slightly behind in that demographic at 22%.
Helena Nicklin, wine writer and presenter of ITV’s The Three Drinkers, said: “These findings put to bed the lazy, outdated stereotype of wine as a preserve of the middle classes. They show very clearly, across the board, that it is the nation’s number one alcoholic drink.”
Around 33.9 million people in the UK drink wine each year, the data suggests.
The survey was conducted by Yougov on behalf of Wine Drinkers UK, a campaign group challenging the high rates of duty on wine.
The research also showed that 90% of consumers were unaware that wine has been taxed more heavily than beer or spirits in the last five years.
The survey has been released on what Wine Drinkers UK is calling Wine Tax Freedom Day. August 12th falls 61% of the way through the year echoing the 61% of the price of a £5 bottle which comprises tax.