Whisky on the rocks

Friday, 05 May 2006 12:00

Britons are spending less and less on whisky, with the pub pound increasingly being spent on vodka.

A new report from market analysts Datamonitor shows that by 2010 Britons will be splashing £3.8 billion a year on vodka - or 1.3 litres per head - meaning UK drinkers will be spending as much on the Russian spirit as they are on a fine Scotch or Malt.

However, for now at least Britons spend more on whisky than anything else, with thirsty Britons buying £3.7 billion worth of the drink.

Overall, UK residents spend more on spirits than almost anywhere else in Europe.

Britons spent £9.6 billion on hard liquor in 2005, with the average UK resident polishing off 152 shots each at a total cost of £160 a person, and vodka sales are leading the charge.

"Extensive advertising campaigns have done a lot to build interest in a variety of vodka drinks - both unflavoured and flavoured," said Datamonitor analyst Lee Schneider.

"Young adults in particular seem to enjoy the more subtle taste of vodkas, and it is a big part of many people's drinking habits for a good night out."

More unflavoured vodka was drunk than Scotch whisky in 2003, making it the most consumed spirit in the UK.

Additionally, the market for flavoured vodka has grown more than 250 per cent to £333 million in the last five years.

By contrast, whisky sales have remained stagnant.

"Manufacturers have been unable to entice the average British drinker to increase their consumption of whisky and there is not much potential for growth," said Mr Schneider.

"Whisky is customarily drunk neat or on the rocks by the more traditional consumers, while younger drinkers tend to consume it with a mixer.

"The range of mixers that work well with whisky is limited so its consumption has not really benefited from increased drinks innovations and combinations."

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