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UK Beer market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Beer 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.

A likely growth segment in the coming years is low- and non-alcoholic beers. While decidedly niche, high profile launches from Heineken and Budweiser over the past year are helping to raise its profile and buoy growth. 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

This Report looks at the UK (United Kingdom) market for beer sold in both the on-trade, ie out-of-home outlets such as pubs, restaurants and clubs where the drink is consumed on the premises, and the off-trade market, eg supermarkets, online, offlicences and convenience stores.

The beer market is divided into three main segments:

  • Lager can broadly be described as a light/amber, clear, carbonated beer brewed with pale-kilned malts which, after fermentation, is filtered, pasteurised and conditioned before being packaged in cans, bottles or kegs for sale. Spirit- and fruit-flavoured beers are also included within lager in this Report.
  • Ale refers to top-fermented beers including bitter and mild, pale, export and brown ales, barley wine and strong ales, as well as Indian and American pale ales, among others. These beers are so-called because the yeast floats to the surface during fermentation, as opposed to lagers, which are bottomfermented. Barley wine is simply a beer with a very high ABV (alcohol by volume).
  • Cask ales are pulled by hand pump and oxidised in an aerobic environment once opened, which demands quick throughput to maintain optimum condition and means they are served from a cask without additional carbon dioxide or nitrogen pressure. Cask ales go through a process of ‘secondary fermentation’ while being stored in pubs, meaning that each barrel often has a unique taste. They are sometimes referred to by consumers and/or the trade as ‘real ale’. However, the definition of real ale also includes ales which are bottle conditioned.
  • Alcoholic ginger beer and bitter are also included within ales in this Report.
  • Stout is a derivative of porter, originally an18th century brown mild ale. Stout is a black, dense beer, which is usually top-fermented, and made with dark roasted barley and an abundance of hops, which provide the characteristic flavour. Porter – a dark style of beer made from brown malt – is included within the definition of stout.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

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

          • The market
            • Beer volumes expected to bounce back and values forge ahead in 2017
              • Figure 1: Forecast of UK value sales of beer, 2012-22
            • Lager sales propped up by the off-trade
              • Ales, bitters and stouts also on the march
                • The off-trade passes the on-trade in volume sales of beer
                  • Beer duty continues to rise
                    • Many people are cutting back on alcoholic drinks such as beer
                      • Companies and brands
                        • AB InBev consolidating as it looks to further its leading position
                          • Figure 2: UK retail value sales of the top 10 beer brands, 2016/17
                        • Ale and stout are key battleground for craft brands
                          • Craft NPD activity is widespread
                            • Low- and non-alcoholic beer launches on the rise
                              • Beer adspend falls away in 2016
                                • Heineken is the leading beer advertiser since 2013
                                  • The consumer
                                    • 62% of Brits drink beer
                                      • Figure 3: Usage of types of beer, September 2017
                                    • Relaxing at home and pub drinks are top beer occasions
                                      • Promotions/special offers and recommendations are the best way to encourage trialling
                                        • Glass bottles remain the most popular packaging type
                                          • Consumers define craft beer in a number of ways
                                            • Figure 4: Factors which define craft beer, September 2017
                                          • Almost half of beer drinkers want a certification for craft
                                            • Two in five beer drinkers would prefer ‘schooners’ to pints
                                              • Figure 5: Attitudes towards beer, September 2017
                                            • What we think
                                            • Issues and Insights

                                              • Schooners could boost the appeal of on-trade
                                                • The facts
                                                  • The implications
                                                    • Craft’s ongoing growth now calls for greater structure
                                                      • The facts
                                                        • The implications
                                                          • Lower-/non-alcoholic beers set to become bigger business
                                                            • The facts
                                                              • The implications
                                                                • Online retailing provides an outlet for a competitive market
                                                                  • The facts
                                                                    • The implications
                                                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                                      • Growth expected in beer volumes in 2017
                                                                        • Lager sales propped up by the off-trade
                                                                          • Ales, bitters and stouts are on the march
                                                                            • The off-trade passes the on-trade in volume sales of beer
                                                                              • Beer duty continues to rise
                                                                                • Many people are cutting back on alcoholic drinks such as beer
                                                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                  • Beer volumes expected to bounce back and values forge ahead in 2017
                                                                                    • Minor fluctuation in beer volumes over 2012-16
                                                                                      • Inflation fuels value growth in 2017
                                                                                        • Figure 6: Total value and volume sales of beer, at current and constant prices, 2012-22
                                                                                      • Lager remains the dominant segment of the market
                                                                                        • Beer values expected to continue rising
                                                                                          • Figure 7: Forecast of UK value sales of beer, 2012-22
                                                                                          • Figure 8: Forecast of UK volume sales of beer, 2012-22
                                                                                      • Market Segmentation

                                                                                        • Lager sales propped up by the off-trade
                                                                                          • Minor fluctuations in total sales mask on-trade decline
                                                                                            • Modest support from low-alcohol beers
                                                                                              • Figure 9: Total value and volume sales of lager, at current and constant prices, 2012-22
                                                                                            • 2017 looks set to be a better year for lager
                                                                                              • Figure 10: Forecast of UK value sales of lager, 2012-22
                                                                                            • Ale/bitter sales benefiting from the craft boom
                                                                                              • Figure 11: Total value and volume sales of ale/bitter, at current and constant prices, 2012-22
                                                                                              • Figure 12: Forecast of UK value sales of ale/bitter, 2012-22
                                                                                            • Stout/porter sales bounce back
                                                                                              • Figure 13: Total value and volume sales of stout/porter, at current and constant prices, 2012-22
                                                                                              • Figure 14: Forecast of UK value sales of stout/porter, 2012-22
                                                                                          • Channels to Market

                                                                                            • The off-trade passes the on-trade in volume sales of beer
                                                                                              • Off-trade volume growth expected to continue
                                                                                                • Figure 15: Value and volume sales of beer, by channel, 2012-17
                                                                                            • Market Drivers

                                                                                              • Beer duty continues to rise
                                                                                                • Figure 16: UK excise duty rates for beer and other alcoholic drinks, 2007-17
                                                                                              • Rising costs put pressure on producers and consumers
                                                                                                • An embattled on-trade industry
                                                                                                  • Rising costs
                                                                                                    • Pubs put more focus on food
                                                                                                      • Many people are cutting back on alcoholic drinks
                                                                                                        • The continued rise of craft beer
                                                                                                          • Population changes could impact the market
                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Change in age structure of the UK population, 2012-17 and 2017-22
                                                                                                        • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                          • AB InBev consolidating as it looks to further its leading position
                                                                                                            • Mixed fortunes for Heineken, Carlsberg hit by delistings
                                                                                                              • Ale and stout are key battleground for craft brands
                                                                                                                • Craft NPD activity is widespread
                                                                                                                  • Low- and non-alcoholic beer launches on the rise
                                                                                                                    • Beer adspend falls away in 2016
                                                                                                                    • Market Share

                                                                                                                      • AB InBev consolidating as it looks to further its leading position
                                                                                                                        • Stella Artois grows despite delistings
                                                                                                                          • Budweiser leaps ahead
                                                                                                                            • Corona and Becks see mixed fortunes
                                                                                                                              • Figure 18: UK retail value and volume sales of the leading lager brands, 2014/15-2016/17
                                                                                                                            • Mixed fortunes for Heineken
                                                                                                                              • Foster’s struggles under range reviews
                                                                                                                                • Mixed performances from world beers
                                                                                                                                  • Tough times for Carlsberg
                                                                                                                                    • Molson Coors enjoys strong sales growth
                                                                                                                                      • Growth among other brands reflects the rise of craft
                                                                                                                                        • Ale and stout are key battleground for craft brands
                                                                                                                                          • A fragmented segment
                                                                                                                                            • Revival in fortunes for Guinness
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 19: UK retail value and volume sales of the leading ale and stout brands, 2014/15-2016/17
                                                                                                                                            • Mixed fortunes among the other ale and stout brands
                                                                                                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                              • Craft NPD activity is widespread
                                                                                                                                                • BrewDog and Fullers look to collaboration
                                                                                                                                                  • Innis & Gunn explores new approaches to barrel-ageing
                                                                                                                                                    • Traditional operators move with the times
                                                                                                                                                      • Large conglomerates look to tap into craft
                                                                                                                                                        • Larger brands look to pack redesigns
                                                                                                                                                          • Carlsberg updates Export
                                                                                                                                                            • Limited edition packs highlighted origin and seasonal events
                                                                                                                                                              • Carling and Heineken look to stronger variants
                                                                                                                                                                • Global beer activity
                                                                                                                                                                  • New variants for Italian brands
                                                                                                                                                                    • Low-alcohol/alcohol-free launches come to the fore
                                                                                                                                                                      • Heineken goes 0.0%
                                                                                                                                                                        • Budweiser launches Prohibition and Light
                                                                                                                                                                          • Smaller operators also look to tap into the trend
                                                                                                                                                                            • Scope for lower-calorie beers
                                                                                                                                                                              • Beer advent calendars tap into seasonality
                                                                                                                                                                                • Can the off-trade steal further from the on-trade?
                                                                                                                                                                                • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Beer adspend falls away in 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Total above-the-line, online display and mail advertising spend on beer, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Total above-the-line, online display and mail advertising spend on beer, by quarterly share of annual total, 2013-16
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Total above-the-line, online display and mail advertising spend on beer, by media type, 2013-17*
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Heineken is the leading beer advertiser since 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                    • AB InBev has spent the most on beer ads in the past two years
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Total above-the-line, online display and mail advertising spend on beer, by leading advertisers (sorted by total spend over period), 2013-17*
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on beer, by top 20 brands (sorted by total spend over the full period), 2013-17*
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Other leading campaigns in 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Budweiser supports Bud Light
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Carlsberg focuses on Export
                                                                                                                                                                                          • BrewDog and Camden Town
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Selected other campaigns
                                                                                                                                                                                              • There’s a Beer for That continues to push food matching
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Carling helps fund community projects
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Calling back to the past
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Linking with entertainment and leisure
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Doom Bar and Stella Artois tie up with sports
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hobgoblin and Red Stripe link to music
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Estrella Damm continues short films
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Brand Research

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Key metrics for selected beer brands, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brand attitudes: BrewDog is seen as an industry innovator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Attitudes, by brand, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brand personality: Carling has the strongest associations with boring
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Brand personality – Macro image, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hobgoblin enjoys favourable links to authenticity and being special
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Brand personality – Micro image, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • BrewDog leads the way in the craft segment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: User profile of BrewDog, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Corona’s cool image makes many beer drinkers proud to be associated with it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: User profile of Corona, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hobgoblin evokes many craft associations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: User profile of Hobgoblin, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kronenbourg balances a premium and accessible position
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: User profile of Kronenbourg, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Amstel seen as a similar brand to Kronenbourg
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: User profile of Amstel, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Carlsberg faces some notable challenges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: User profile of Carlsberg, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Carling leverages its cheap price to forge a value position
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: User profile of Carling, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • 62% of Brits drink beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Relaxing at home and pub drinks are top beer occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Promotions/special offers and recommendations foster trialling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Glass bottles remain the most popular packaging type
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumers define craft beer in a number of ways
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Almost half of beer drinkers want a certification for craft
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Usage of Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • 62% of Brits drink beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Profile of beer drinkers, by gender, age and socio-economic group, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lager remains Brits’ beer of choice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Usage of types of beer, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ales and stouts are less popular
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Few people report drinking craft beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stout remains divisive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Other types of beer remain more niche
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Almost half of beer drinkers stick to one type
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Repertoire of usage of types of beer, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Occasions for Drinking Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Relaxing at home and pub drinks are top beer occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Occasions for drinking beer, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rising out-of-home costs have fostered pre-loading
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Festival and events usage peaks among young adults
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Beer enjoys strong usage on food-led occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Factors Encouraging Trialling of New Beers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Promotions/special offers are the best way to encourage trialling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Factors which have encouraged people to try a new beer, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Recommendations can also be influential…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • …as can advertising via social media and traditional channels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • New tastes and new variants from trusted brands can also resonate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Packaging can help create standout
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Beer Preferences

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Glass bottles remain the most popular packaging type
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Beer preferences relating to packaging and serving size, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lighter beers are comfortably more popular than darker ones
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Beer preferences relating to type and strength, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • A higher share of beer drinkers prefers the familiar…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • …and well-known brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Beer preferences relating to brands, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Defining Craft Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Craft beer lacks a definition in the UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Certification of craft beer widely welcomed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: SIBA’s Assured Independent British craft brewer logo, 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumers define craft beer in disparate ways
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Factors which define craft beer, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Under-35s give more weight to unique flavour, over-45s to tradition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • High quality ingredients and scale of production spark limited interest
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Packaging and human input appear to be more peripheral indicators
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes Towards Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Almost half of beer drinkers want more guidance when buying craft
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Tailored online subscriptions appeal to one in three
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Attitudes towards craft and quality in beer, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Paying a premium for craft splits beer drinkers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Transparency is a watchword in craft
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cloudy beers appeal to two in five
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • 58% of beer drinkers are interested in beer as part of meal deals
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Attitudes towards beer and food, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sharing bottles hold further potential
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Two in five beer drinkers would prefer ‘schooners’ to pints
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Small bar’s beer boards, Cardiff, October 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • High interest in smaller servings among women
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Attitudes towards the size of beer servings, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Standards are seen to be improving in the low-/non-alcoholic segment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Government drinking guidelines also spark mixed responses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Attitudes towards the size of beer servings, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Best- and worst-case forecast data
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Total UK value sales of beer, best- and worst-case forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Total UK volume sales of beer, best- and worst-case forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lager
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Total UK value sales of lager, best- and worst-case forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Total UK volume sales of lager, best- and worst-case forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Forecast of UK volume sales of lager, 2012-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ale/Bitter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Total UK value sales of ale/bitter, best- and worst-case forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Total UK volume sales of ale/bitter, best- and worst-case forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Forecast of UK volume sales of ale/bitter, 2012-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Stout/Porter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Total UK value sales of stout/porter, best- and worst-case forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Total UK volume sales of stout/porter, best- and worst-case forecast, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Forecast of UK volume sales of stout/porter, 2012-22
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Share

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: UK retail value and volume sales of the leading lager manufacturers, 2014/15-2016/17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: UK retail value and volume sales of the leading ale and stout manufacturers, 2014/15-2016/17