The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has done a phenomenal job. Since the 1970s they have tirelessly campaigned for Real Ale, with a membership of well over 150,000 people making it the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK.
Unfortunately, their great work has not stemmed the flow of pub closures and declining sales. Since the start of the 1980s the number of pubs in the UK has declined by 29% and in the last fifteen years annual sales have dropped 23% according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
So it was with some justifiable cheer the BBPA reported last year that sales of beer had increased 1.3%, the first rise since 2006.
This positive news for beer is now being overshadowed by a survey conducted by YouGov and Populus. Of the 4,000 people surveyed around 60% declared wine to be their preferred alcoholic drink.
The FT quoted Matthew Jukes, an influential UK wine critic, as saying:
“This polling finally dispels the myth that wine is elitist. It is the most popular alcoholic drink in the UK, which makes the fact that it is so highly taxed a complete anomaly”
His comments reference the fact that for a £5 bottle of still wine, £2.88 (57.7%) of this is tax (duty and VAT). The last time duty on wine was reduced was 1984, when it was cut from £1.13 to 90.5 pence. In the 30 years since that cut duty has more than doubled to £2.05 (127% increase).
Perhaps this poll is not enough for the wine industry to claim they now produce the UK’s most popular alcoholic beverage. However, anyone believing that wine drinkers in the UK are generally middle class is probably now clinging to an outdated stereotype.
Get in touch and let us know whether or not you think wine is now The Nation’s favourite.