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UK Beer market report

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 four 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.
  • 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.
  • Cask alesare 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.
  • Stout is a derivative of porter, originally an 18th 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.

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Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Amy Price, 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.

Consumers’ desires to lead healthier lifestyles is evident, this feeding through to the trend towards people reducing/limiting alcohol intake. Given the strong consumer perception that low-/no-alcohol beers allow you to drink more beer, there is scope for such variants to forge a role as the permissible face of beer and to maintain usage.Amy Price
Senior Food and Drink Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

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

          • The market
            • Value sales rise but volumes fall in 2019
              • Figure 1: Forecast of UK value sales of beer, 2014-24
            • Lager dominates the beer market; craft trend fuels rise in ale/bitter values
              • Figure 2: UK value sales of beer, by segment, 2018-19
            • Off-trade volumes continue to steal share from the on-trade
              • Freeze on beer duties eases pressure
                • A third of adults have reduced their alcohol intake
                  • Companies and brands
                    • Lager brands see mixed fortunes
                      • Figure 3: Share of UK retail value sales of the leading lager brands, 2018/19*
                    • Guinness continues to lead in ales and stouts; BrewDog sees growth
                      • Figure 4: Share of UK retail value sales of the leading ale and stout brands, 2018/19
                    • Low-/non-alcoholic beer trend continues among big brands
                      • Craft remains a focus
                        • Adspend rises in 2019
                          • Guinness has a strong brand image; Stella Artois and Birra Moretti score highest on brand commitment
                            • The consumer
                              • 71% drink beer; 44% weekly
                                • Figure 5: Frequency of drinking beer, October 2019
                              • Supermarkets are the most popular place to buy beer
                                • Figure 6: Where beer is bought, October 2019
                              • Calorie reduction and more low-/non-alcoholic versions are called for in beer
                                • Figure 7: Interest in innovation in beer, October 2019
                              • 60% would rather cut back than switch to low-alcohol beer
                                • Figure 8: Behaviours related to beer, October 2019
                              • No stigma surrounding low-/no-alcohol beer for 64%
                                • Figure 9: Attitudes towards beer, October 2019
                              • What we think
                              • Issues and Insights

                                • Low/non-alcoholic beer trend provides a way to engage younger drinkers
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • A need to push sustainability credentials
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Post-exercise beer sparks interest
                                              • The implications
                                                • Opportunities for British and imported brands
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Value sales rise but volumes fall in 2019
                                                        • Lager dominates the beer market
                                                          • Craft trend fuels rise in ale/bitter
                                                            • Stout/porter sees flat volumes on rising value sales
                                                              • Off-trade volumes continue to steal share from the on-trade
                                                                • Freeze on beer duties eases pressure
                                                                  • A third of adults have reduced their alcohol intake
                                                                  • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                    • Value sales rise but volumes fall in 2019
                                                                      • Lager continues to lead the market
                                                                        • Figure 10: Total value and volume sales of beer, 2014-24
                                                                      • The future
                                                                          • Figure 11: Forecast of UK value sales of beer, 2014-24
                                                                          • Figure 12: Forecast of UK volume sales of beer, 2014-24
                                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                                        • Market Segmentation

                                                                          • Lager dominates the beer market
                                                                            • Figure 13: UK value and volume sales of beer, by type, 2017-19
                                                                          • Craft trend fuels rise in ale/bitter
                                                                            • Stout/porter sees flat volumes on rising value sales
                                                                            • Channels to Market

                                                                              • Rising prices drive value growth in the on-trade
                                                                                • Off-trade volumes continue to steal share from the on-trade
                                                                                  • Figure 14: Value and volume sales of beer, by channel, 2014-19
                                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                                • Beer prices affected by multiple factors
                                                                                  • Freeze on beer duties eases pressure
                                                                                    • Figure 15: UK excise duty rates for beer and other alcoholic drinks, 2009-19
                                                                                  • Welsh government to launch MUP in 2020
                                                                                    • Rising costs for the on-trade
                                                                                      • A third of adults have reduced their alcohol intake
                                                                                        • Improved household incomes create opportunities for premium products
                                                                                          • Figure 16: CPI vs average weekly earnings, 2016-19
                                                                                        • Brexit uncertainty lingers, potentially denting volumes as consumer cutback
                                                                                          • Industry submits proposal for more detailed alcohol labelling
                                                                                            • BrewDog targets home workers with DeskDog scheme
                                                                                              • Demographic changes will put pressure on the market
                                                                                                • Figure 17: Change in age structure of the UK population, 2014-19 and 2019-24
                                                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                              • Lager brands see mixed fortunes
                                                                                                • Guinness continues to lead in ales and stouts; BrewDog sees growth
                                                                                                  • Low-/non-alcoholic beer trend continues among big brands
                                                                                                    • Craft remains a focus
                                                                                                      • Adspend rises in 2019
                                                                                                        • Guinness has a strong brand image; Stella Artois and Birra Moretti score highest on brand commitment
                                                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                                                          • Budweiser Brewing Group’s brands see mixed fortunes in lager
                                                                                                            • Stella Artois continues to lead in lager
                                                                                                              • Budweiser sees a decline in sales
                                                                                                                • Heineken’s Foster’s struggles
                                                                                                                  • Birra Moretti is the star performer
                                                                                                                    • Carling struggles to grow volumes
                                                                                                                      • Carlsberg is yet to see the benefit from rebrand
                                                                                                                        • Asahi’s Peroni sees sales stagnate
                                                                                                                          • Figure 18: UK retail value and volume sales of the leading lager brands, 2017/18-2018/19
                                                                                                                        • Guinness continues to lead in ales and stouts, despite sales decline
                                                                                                                          • Strong growth from some of the smaller ale brands
                                                                                                                            • BrewDog continues rise in sales
                                                                                                                              • Figure 19: UK retail value and volume sales of the leading ale and stout brands, 2017/18-2018/19
                                                                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                            • Health trends provide inspiration for NPD
                                                                                                                              • Low/non-alcoholic beer trend continues among big brands
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Beer brands launch low-/no-alcohol versions, 2019
                                                                                                                                • Brands explore strength up to 3.5% ABV and focus on flavour in low-alcoholic beer
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Brands Look to beers with less than 3.5% ABV and flavour in low-/no-alcohol beer, 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Müller makes move into low-alcohol craft beer with Milk & More
                                                                                                                                    • Sainsbury’s launches a pop-up pub serving low- and non-alcoholic drinks
                                                                                                                                      • Few brands call out lower calorie content
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Emphasising calorie content on front of pack, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Botanical brews could appeal to health-conscious drinkers
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Botanical brews, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Not pasteurised trend slows
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Unpasteurised beers, 2019
                                                                                                                                      • US brewers look to probiotics…
                                                                                                                                        • …electrolytes
                                                                                                                                          • …and superfoods
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 25: US brand Dogfish Head looks to superfoods, 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Craft remains a focus
                                                                                                                                            • Retailers revamp craft ranges
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Retailers update their craft ranges, 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Sainsbury’s launches own-label craft beer Hyde & Wilde into the on-trade
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Sainsbury’s extends Hyde & Wild to the on-trade, 2019
                                                                                                                                              • BrewDog launches exclusive beer with the Co-op…
                                                                                                                                                • ..and unveils protest beer
                                                                                                                                                  • Budweiser Brewing Group unveils new Bass ale
                                                                                                                                                    • Packaging refreshes
                                                                                                                                                      • Peroni launches slimline cans
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Peroni launches slimline cans, 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Heineken launches first ever makeover for Desperados
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Heineken revamps Desperados, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Hobgoblin receives brand overhaul
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Martson’s revamps Hobgoblin, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Beer makers cater to environmental/ethical concerns
                                                                                                                                                        • Carlsberg launches a raft of environmentally-friendly NPD under its Together Towards Zero initiative
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Carlsberg launches Snap Pack packaging, 2018
                                                                                                                                                        • …tests paper bottles
                                                                                                                                                          • Corona supports beach cleans
                                                                                                                                                            • Guinness switches from plastic to cardboard
                                                                                                                                                              • Heineken eliminates plastic from its packaging
                                                                                                                                                                • Waitrose trials refillable packaging
                                                                                                                                                                • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                  • Adspend rises in 2019
                                                                                                                                                                    • Outdoor overtakes TV to be the most popular advertising channel
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on beer, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                    • Budweiser Brewing Group the top spender
                                                                                                                                                                      • Corona Extra continues to spotlight plastic pollution
                                                                                                                                                                        • Budweiser focuses on sport…
                                                                                                                                                                          • …and supports Pride
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on beer, by top 10 advertisers, 2015-19 (sorted by 2019)
                                                                                                                                                                          • Heineken loses out on top spot but still spends more than £10 million
                                                                                                                                                                            • Heineken launches cross-brand low-/non-alcoholic campaign
                                                                                                                                                                              • Amstel enlists Jeff Bridges
                                                                                                                                                                                • Birra Moretti pushes links with family and food…
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Foster’s bring back “Good call” to poke fun at craft trend
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sharp’s launches first campaign for Doom Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Carling is the top spending brand with its Made Local ad
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Coors Light launches That’s Cold campaign
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on beer, by top 10 brands, 2015-19 (sorted by 2019)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Carlsberg rebrands and focuses on quality
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Diageo continues to cut back spend on Guinness
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Brewdog launches “Most Honest Ever” adverts
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand Research

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Key metrics for selected brands, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brand attitudes: Foster’s offers greatest value
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Attitudes, by brand, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brand personality: Birra Moretti is the most exclusive
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Brand personality – macro image, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Guinness is the most traditional and authentic
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Brand personality – micro image, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Stella Artois is the most drunk brand; seen to be trustworthy and accessible
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: User profile of Stella Artois, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Budweiser is the coolest brand
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: User profile of Budweiser, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Foster’s is seen to be the most accessible brand
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: User profile of Foster’s, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Birra Moretti stands out for being exclusive, sophisticated and special
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: User profile of Birra Moretti, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Guinness is the most trusted and unique brand
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: User profile of Guinness, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Heineken is seen to offer food value and to be accessible and refreshing
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: User profile of Heineken, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Carlsberg seen to be accessible, fun and traditional
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: User profile of Carlsberg, November 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • 71% drink beer; 44% weekly
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Supermarkets are the most popular place to buy beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Calorie reduction and more low-/non-alcoholic versions are called for in beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • 60% would rather cut back than switch to low-alcohol beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Opportunities for British and imported brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Post-exercise beer interests 41%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • No stigma surrounding low-/no-alcohol beer for 64%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sustainability appeals to majority of beer drinkers/buyers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Usage of Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • 71% drink beer; 44% weekly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Frequency of drinking beer, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Usage is higher among men, the young and the highest earners
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Beer drinking in the last 3 months, by gender, age and annual household income, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lager is the most popular beer, drunk by 72%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Types of beer drunk in the last 3 months, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Beer drinkers have a narrow repertoire
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Repertoire of types of beer drunk in the last 3 months, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Craft is the most popular variety, drunk by 39%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Varieties of beer drunk, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Low-/non-alcoholic beer trend continues, driven by the young
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Usage of low-/no-alcohol beer, by age, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Where Beer is Purchased

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Supermarkets are the most popular place to buy beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • 18% buy beer from discounters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Where beer is bought, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Half buy beer from a pub/bar; rising among men and higher earners
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Interest in Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Calorie reduction is called for in beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Interest in innovation in beer, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • 25% of 18-24s are interested in seeing more low-/no-alcohol beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Beer blended with soft drinks also appeals most to the younger generation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Functional aspects appeal to a minority
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Beer with botanicals and herbs and spices would appeal to the young
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Beer Behaviours

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • 60% would rather cut back than switch to low-alcohol beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Behaviours related to beer, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Environmentally-friendly packaging offers brand standout among 47%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunities for British brands…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • …and imported brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Post-exercise beer interests 41%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • No stigma surrounding low-/no-alcohol beer for 64%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Concerns on taste still felt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Attitudes towards beer, October 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sustainability appeals to majority of beer drinkers/buyers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Alcohol content is seen to be a marker of quality among 27%; rising to 41% of 18-34s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: UK value sales of beer, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: UK volume sales of beer, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Share

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: UK retail value and volume sales of the leading lager manufacturers, 2017/18-2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: UK retail value and volume sales of the leading ale and stout manufacturers, 2017/18-2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Share of new product launches in the UK beer market, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Share of new product launches in the beer market carrying the ethical/environmental claim, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on beer, by category, 2015-19 (sorted by 2019)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on beer, by media type, 2015-19 (sorted by 2019)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Sports sponsorship advertising expenditure on beer, by advertiser, 2015-19 (sorted by total)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Sports sponsorship advertising expenditure on beer, by brand, 2015-19 (sorted by total)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    About the report

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Description