This site is intended for health professionals only

Alcohol consumption rising "by stealth"

British drinkers are consuming more alcohol units than they were in 2000, even though the volume of  drink being consumed has stayed the same.

Research has revealed that due to the popular emergence of strong lagers and high alcohol wines, 10% more alcohol is being consumed than almost a decade ago.

Senior drinks analyst at research company Mintel, Jonny Forsyth said: "In the 1970s a bottle of wine may have been around 11% in ABV and now the same bottle is more likely to be around 13%.

"Equally, we have seen stronger lager become much more popular over the past couple of decades, with the growth of the 5% 'premium' lager sector."

He added that a majority of consumers may not be aware of ABV - the measurement of alcohol contained in a beverage - and might not notice how much they are drinking.

"So despite a greater societal concern with being healthy leading to a decline in drinking penetration, by stealth we are drinking more pure alcohol than ever."

But the number of younger drinkers who drink two or three times a week at the least has fallen. The study indicates that 22% fewer people between 18 and 24 years old agree that "the point of drinking is to get drunk" than they did five years ago.

Copyright © Press Association 2009