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UK Alcoholic Drinks Review market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Alcoholic Drinks market, its consumers and the major players who make up that market.

Market

Point of sale market data

In conjunction with IRi, extensive point of sale data shows you what consumers are spending their money on

Market Size

How big is the market today and what is our 5 year forecast? Includes both best & worst case scenarios

Market Segmentation

What are the different segments within the market and how are those individual segments performing?

Consumer

Consumer behaviors

What are consumers looking for, what drives their buying habits and what are their main purchase influencers?

Demographic breakdown

From iGen & Millennials to Baby Boomers & beyond. Who is spending money and what are they spending it on?

Representative sample

We gather our data from real-world consumers, selected to accurately reflect precise global demographics

Players

Company strategy

What are the key players doing, what has been successful for them and what was their marketing spend?

Product innovation

Using data from our Global New Product Database, what products were launched and how well were they perceived?

Opportunities

What happens next, which areas are likely to experience growth and what opportunities exist within the market?

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Kiti Soininen, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Many consumers are moderating their alcohol intake, putting pressure on the industry. However, consumer interest in low- and non-alcoholic drinks and widespread quality over quantity mindset suggest opportunities for brands to stay on the menu. Kiti Soininen
Head of UK Food, Drink and Foodservice Research

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

This report discusses the following key topics:

Products covered in this Report

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

This Report explores usage of, and attitudes towards alcoholic drinks. This includes all types of alcohol, as well as low/nonalcoholic variants of drinks that typically contain alcohol (eg alcohol-free beer). The Report excludes soft drinks such as carbonated soft drinks and juices.

Both on- and off-trade sales are included in the total market size. The overall market size has been compiled as a total value of the five categories listed below. Please see the relevant Reports for additional information on the markets in question:

  • Dark Spirits and Liqueurs – UK, September 2017
  • Still, Sparking and Fortified Wine – UK, October 2017
  • Beer – UK, December 2017
  • White Spirits and RTDs – UK, December 2017
  • Cider – UK, January 2018

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What's included

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Consumer cutbacks on alcohol affect the craft segment
              • Ageing UK population to hinder craft drinks
                • New craft entrants heat up the competition in alcoholic drinks
                  • Companies and brands
                    • Leading players continue to acquire craft brands
                      • Few alcohol launches use the term ‘craft’ on-pack
                        • Larger companies look to tap into the craft trend
                          • NPD trends include standout packaging, flavours and low/no alcohol
                            • Craft brands raise their profile by linking with music and movies
                              • The consumer
                                • Three in 10 adults buy craft drinks
                                  • Figure 1: Buying of standard and craft alcoholic drinks, June 2018
                                • Price and brand are key influences on alcohol buying
                                  • Craft labels have little influence even on craft buyers
                                    • Figure 2: Alcoholic drinks buying factors, June 2018
                                  • Strong links between craft alcohol buying and foodie-ism
                                    • Unique flavour and quality ingredients are the most widely seen as important for craft
                                      • Figure 3: Factors seen as most important for an alcoholic drink to be considered ‘craft’ , June 2018
                                    • Flavour profile labelling and quality awards can help craft drinks to win new users
                                      • Figure 4: Behaviours relating to craft alcoholic drinks, June 2018
                                    • Craft drinks enjoy a strong feel-good factor
                                      • Figure 5: Craft alcohol buyers’ behaviours, June 2018
                                    • Consumers are split on the importance of heritage
                                      • Figure 6: Attitudes towards craft alcoholic drinks, June 2018
                                    • What we think
                                    • Issues and Insights

                                      • Perception that acquisitions lead to a decline in quality pose an issue for large companies taking over craft brands
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Craft drinks in on-trend flavours should appeal
                                              • The facts
                                                • The implications
                                                  • Scope to further mine the feel-good factor around craft drinks
                                                    • The facts
                                                      • The implications
                                                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Consumer cutbacks on alcohol affect the craft segment
                                                          • Ageing UK population to hinder craft drinks
                                                            • New craft entrants heat up the competition in alcoholic drinks
                                                            • Market Drivers

                                                              • ‘Craft’ term remains unregulated
                                                                • Multiple factors affect alcohol prices
                                                                  • Inflation hits the category
                                                                    • Scotland introduces minimum unit price for alcohol
                                                                      • Stronger craft cider could be hit by extra duties
                                                                        • A third of buyers have cut back on alcohol for health reasons
                                                                          • Ageing UK population offers little support to craft drinks
                                                                            • Smaller brands benefit from supermarkets expanding their craft ranges
                                                                              • Continued growth in breweries and distilleries
                                                                              • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                • Leading players continue to acquire craft brands
                                                                                  • Few alcohol launches use the term ‘craft’ on-pack
                                                                                    • Larger companies look to tap into the craft trend
                                                                                      • NPD trends include standout packaging, flavours and low/no alcohol
                                                                                        • Craft brands raise their profile by linking with music and movies
                                                                                        • Takeovers and Acquisitions

                                                                                          • Acquisitions of smaller brands in various alcoholic drinks sectors from 2013-18
                                                                                            • Figure 7: Selected acquisitions of craft brands by major companies^, 2013-18
                                                                                          • Beer
                                                                                            • Heineken moves on two craft brands
                                                                                              • Beavertown acquisition provokes a backlash in some quarters
                                                                                                • Carlsberg snaps up troubled London Fields
                                                                                                  • Fullers takes over Dark Star
                                                                                                    • Lion of Australia buys Fourpure
                                                                                                      • White Spirits
                                                                                                        • Beam Suntory looks to reassure consumers after Sipsmith acquisition
                                                                                                          • Cider
                                                                                                            • Molson Coors acquires Aspall
                                                                                                              • BrewDog looks to shake up the cider market with Hawkes investment
                                                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                • Few alcohol launches use the ‘craft’ term on pack
                                                                                                                  • Gin boom drives rise in small-batch gins
                                                                                                                    • Figure 8: UK alcoholic drinks launches, by selected terms featured on-pack, 2014-18 (sorted by 2017)
                                                                                                                  • Heineken puts the spotlight on its brewers with Maltsmiths
                                                                                                                    • Figure 9: Example of Heineken’s Maltsmiths brand, 2018
                                                                                                                  • Pub chains collaborate with craft brewers
                                                                                                                    • Retailers expand their own-label alcohol ranges with craft products
                                                                                                                      • Beer
                                                                                                                        • White spirits
                                                                                                                          • Figure 10: Examples of own-label craft alcoholic drinks, 2017-18
                                                                                                                        • Craft brands explore unusual flavours
                                                                                                                          • Craft brewers extend into other categories
                                                                                                                            • Low/no alcohol beers from craft brewers emphasise their full flavour
                                                                                                                              • Giving further detail on low/no alcohol products’ flavour
                                                                                                                                • Figure 11: Low/no alcohol craft beer launches, UK, 2017-18
                                                                                                                              • Unusual packaging formats help with on-shelf standout
                                                                                                                                • Craft brewer unveils beer in wine-style bottles
                                                                                                                                  • The Uncommon launches English wine in a can
                                                                                                                                    • Beer Hawk adds to Beer Bullets range
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 12: Beer Hawk Beer Bullet plus beers included, UK, 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Craft brands take inspiration from a variety of sources
                                                                                                                                      • Ethical products from craft brands should boost feelgood associations
                                                                                                                                        • McGuigan launches small-batch wines
                                                                                                                                        • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                            • BrewDog republishes its recipe book
                                                                                                                                              • Maltsmiths highlights its perfectionism
                                                                                                                                                • Camden Town launches its first TV campaign
                                                                                                                                                  • Outdoor campaign focuses on pleasure
                                                                                                                                                    • Craft brands raise their profile at cultural events
                                                                                                                                                      • Linking with music and film
                                                                                                                                                        • Music event with craft beers promoted as way for people to support local industry
                                                                                                                                                          • Tiny Rebel sponsors Spotify playlists
                                                                                                                                                            • Whitley Neill invites people to inhale ‘gin mist’
                                                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                              • Three in 10 adults buy craft drinks
                                                                                                                                                                • Price and brand are key influences on alcohol buying
                                                                                                                                                                  • Craft labels have little influence even on craft buyers
                                                                                                                                                                    • Strong links between craft alcohol buying and foodie-ism
                                                                                                                                                                      • Unique flavour and quality ingredients are the most widely seen as important for craft
                                                                                                                                                                        • Flavour profile labelling and quality awards can help craft drinks to win new users
                                                                                                                                                                          • Craft drinks enjoy a strong feelgood factor
                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumers are split on the importance of heritage
                                                                                                                                                                            • Buying of Standard and Craft Alcoholic Drinks

                                                                                                                                                                              • Three in 10 adults buy craft alcohol drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                • More men than women buy craft
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 13: Buying of standard and craft alcoholic drinks, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                • Ale/bitter is the most widely bought craft alcohol type
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Uptake of craft white spirits is low despite the buzz around gin
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 14: Buying of standard and craft alcoholic drinks, by drinks type, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                • Alcoholic Drinks Buying Factors

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Price is the primary influence on alcoholic drinks buying
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Introductory offers can help challenger brands to attract users
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 15: Alcoholic drinks buying factors, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Brand loyalty is strong in alcohol
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Brand loyalty is on a par between craft and standard alcohol buyers
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Craft label has little influence even on craft buyers
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Expertise and Interest in Trends among Alcoholic Drinks Buyers

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Over half of people who follow food/drink trends buy craft alcohol
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Various opportunities for craft producers to build associations with food trends
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Trendy on-trade venues will need to ensure good selection of craft drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Expertise and Interest in Trends among alcoholic drinks buyers, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                              • A third of buyers like to be the first to try new alcoholic drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sense of connoisseurship is higher among younger consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Factors Seen as Most Important for Craft Alcoholic Drinks

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Flavour and ingredients are most widely seen as important for craft
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 17: Factors seen as most important for an alcoholic drink to be considered ‘craft’, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Many who prioritise unique flavour also prioritise quality ingredients
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hand-made products signal craft to a third
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Heat map of areas seen as indicating a craft product^, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ownership is seen as important by three in 10
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Acquisitions of craft brands by larger companies can lead to a backlash
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Need for large companies acquiring craft brands to reassure the public
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Small-batch production is associated with craft by three in 10
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Small-batch production carries some quality associations …
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • …but has little effect on buying
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Behaviours relating to Craft Alcoholic Drinks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Various opportunities for craft drinks to attract new users
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • On-shelf labelling on flavour profile appeals particularly to under-35s ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Behaviours relating to craft alcoholic drinks, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • … and would encourage 40% of non-users to buy craft
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Quality awards would encourage half of alcohol buyers to buy craft
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Collaborative drinks enjoy wide appeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Craft Alcohol Buyers’ Behaviours

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Strong feel-good factor for craft drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 20: Craft alcohol buyers’ behaviours, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Recommendations are key to driving trial of craft drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • ‘Shared wisdom’ marketing messages can allow brands to harness the power of recommendations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Attitudes towards Craft Alcoholic Drinks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Consumers are split on the importance of heritage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Good opportunities for small-batch variants from established brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Attitudes towards craft alcoholic drinks, June 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Only a minority feel that own-label drinks cannot be craft
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Tangible references to production methods can help own-label to build a craft positioning
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Collaborations between own-label and craft brands should appeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Factors seen as Most Important for Craft Alcoholic Drinks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Original images of products featured in focus group study of on-pack terms seen as indicating a craft product, June 2018