Biggest Ever Dry-Jan Sees Dramatic Change In UK’s Drinking Habits

Whilst 1 in 10 adult drinkers went entirely without booze in January, it seems more and more of us used the month to lower, rather than cut out entirely, our alcohol intake. That’s the conclusion of UK retailer Majestic Wine, after seeing record breaking sales of low and no alcohol beers and wines – up +312% and +52% respectively – against the same month last year.

Alcohol-free categories did understandably well, but there were also signs that a move towards moderation could be a boon for some unexpected wine regions. 

One of the key regions to benefit looks to be Germany, where an appreciation for crisp white wine styles and lower alcohol strengths is leading to a renaissance. Majestic’s figure also seems to confirm this, with sales of wines from the region in the sub-8% ABV category up +22% in January.

Meanwhile in beers the story is much more focused around some of the industry’s most recognisable names, with the likes of Heinkekein and Brew Dog all getting serious about low and no options. 

Commenting on the figures, Majestic Chief Executive, John Colley, said:

The way many of us consume alcohol is changing. There’s a definite sense that customers want to drink better, and understand what they’re consuming. They want to explore and appreciate what’s in their glass, and the alcohol content is incidental. It’s now essential we have an offering for everyone; whether you’re looking to cut back, drink better or go booze-free altogether.

Majestic also revealed it had seen an increase in sales around the ‘Try January’ counterculture, a movement within the wine industry to encourage consumers to branch out into more esoteric or unusual grapes and regions. The highlights included an increase in sales for Alsace (up +23%), Sherry (up +18%) and rosé from across Europe (excluding France) up +58%.

Wine is now the UK’s most popular drink and that, alongside a trend for drinking less but better, can make this a really exciting next chapter for the industry. It’s a trend which we’re certainly looking to embrace at Majestic. Taking that consumer-lead movement, and finding ways to introduce our customers to a whole new world of wines, is an exciting challenge we can’t wait to meet” adds Colley. 

All figures quoted are like for like volumes against January 2019.

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