A UK alcohol industry trade body says beer and wine sales measured in litres both fell in the covid-19 lockdown, apparently contradicting a health analyst’s findings.
Beer sales fell 10% by volume in the year to October 2020 and the volume of wine sold fell by 5% in the same period, says the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).
It gave no number for spirits, but in a later press release on low- and no-alcohol labelling it said “spirits sales are flat”.
“It combines sales across on-trade venues with off-trade sales from shops, supermarkets etc to produce an overall volume sales figure,” says Tom Pratt, the WSTA data manager.
An estimate by Sheffield University’s Colin Angus published last year showed an overall increase in alcohol consumption, based on official tax information. WSTA says its estimate is based on Nielsen and CGA data.
Neither estimate sheds light on which groups of people are drinking more alcohol and in what circumstances, which may be more useful in pinpointing harm than the average over the population. ◼