Monday, June 05, 2017

People are drinking less and less alcohol

It seems that people are drinking less and less alcohol, according to a new International Wine and Spirit Record (IWSR) report, even though global GDP has been increasing. Global GDP increased by 3.5% in 2016 according to the IMF, and yet the global market for alcoholic drinks shrank by 1.3% over the same year. This is a much greater reduction than in the previous few years, which have seen an average 0.3% annual reduction. Normally, at least over the longer term, alcohol consumption and overall GDP tend to move in lockstep, but these recent stats appear to buck that trend.
The main driver of the contraction was in beer, which saw a 1.8% reduction in 2016, compared to a five-year annual fall of around 1.8%. Cider fell by 1.5%, and wine consumption remained relatively flat, falling by just 0.1%. Spirits, on the other hand, showed a modest increase of 0.3%, with gin, tequila and whiskey producers revealed as the big winners, with a 3.7%, 5.2% and 1.7% increase in global sales respectively.
A few large consumer countries had an outsized impact on the decline in global alcohol consumption: for example, beer sales in China, Brazil and Russia fell by 4.2%, 5.3% and 7.8% respectively; vodka sales in Russia fell a precipitous 9.3% (although Russia still remains by the largest consumer of vodka).
So, what are people doing instead of getting drunk? Or are they turning to home-brew and illegal hooch instead of buying their booze commercially? The report fails to tell us.

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