Consumption in Scotland

Alcohol consumption in 2020

  • In 2020, a total of 42.5 million litres of pure alcohol were sold in Scotland
  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on individuals’ drinking behaviours and consumption patterns, with an increase in drinking at home and drinking alone.
  • Consumption rates: In 2020, 9.4 litres (L) of pure alcohol were sold per adult in Scotland, equivalent to 18.0 units per adult per week. This is the lowest level seen in Scotland over the available time series (1994 onwards). Excluding the proportion of the population that does not drink alcohol gives a total consumption figure of 11.2L per adult drinker, rather than 9.4L per adult.
  • In 2020, the volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland was at the lowest level seen over the available time series. Despite this overall population decrease, death rates increased across the pandemic, indicating that heavy episodic drinking may have increased in certain groups.
  • Comparison: The volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland in 2020 was 6% higher than in England & Wales, the smallest difference seen in the available time series
  • Price of alcohol: In 2020, the average price of alcohol sold in the off-trade in Scotland was 63p per unit, an increase from 62p in 2019.
  • Type of alcohol: Of the total volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland in 2020, spirits accounted for 31%, wine for 31%, beer for 27% and cider for 6%.
  • Off-trade: 90% of units sold in Scotland in 2020 were sold through the off-trade (in supermarkets and other off-licenses).
  • Promotions: 25% of all alcohol (natural volume) sold off-trade through larger multiple retailers (excluding discount retailers) in Scotland was sold on promotion, the same as 2019.

 

Source: The Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland's Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) monitoring reports 2021.

For more information, visit: http://www.alcoholinscotland.info/

Alcohol consumption in 2019

  • In 2019, a total of 45.1 million litres of pure alcohol were sold in Scotland.
  • Consumption rates: In 2019, 9.9 litres (L) of pure alcohol were sold per adult in Scotland, equivalent to 19.1 units per adult per week. This is the same as in 2018. Higher levels of population alcohol consumption are estimated in 2019 when sales are expressed as per adult drinker (11.9L) rather than per adult (9.9L).
  • Self-reported alcohol consumption data show that 24% of adults in Scotland in 2019 exceeded the low-risk weekly drinking guideline (14 units), the same as in 2018.
  • Comparison: As in 2018, the volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland in 2019 was 9% higher than in England & Wales, one of the smallest differences seen in the available time series (the same as 2018).
  • Price of alcohol:In 2019, the average price of alcohol sold in the off-trade in Scotland was 62 pence per unit (ppu), an increase from 59ppu in 2018.
  • Type of alcohol: Of the total volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland in 2019, beer accounted for 31%, spirits for 30%, wine for 28% and cider for 6%.
  • Off-trade: 73 % of units of alcohol sold in Scotland in 2019 were sold through the off-trade (in supermarkets and other off-licenses).
  • Promotions: 23% of all alcohol (natural volume) sold off-trade through larger multiple retailers (excluding discount retailers) in Scotland was sold on promotion. This fell from 28% in 2018.

 

Source: The Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland's Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) monitoring reports 2020.

Alcohol consumption in 2018

  • In 2018, a total of 44.7 million litres of pure alcohol were sold in Scotland
  • Consumption rates: In 2018, 9.9 litres (L) of pure alcohol were sold per adult in Scotland, equivalent to 19.0 units per adult per week – even higher levels of population alcohol consumption are estimated in 2018 when sales are expressed as per adult drinker (11.9L) rather than per adult (9.9L).
  • Self-reported alcohol consumption data show that 24% of adults in Scotland in 2018 exceeded the revised low-risk weekly drinking guideline for both men and women, a decline from 34% in 2003.
  • Comparison: The volume of pure alcohol sold in Scotland in 2018 was 9% higher than in England & Wales, the smallest difference since 2003.
  • Type of alcohol: Of the total volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland in 2018, beer accounted for 31%, spirits for 29%, wine for 29% and cider for 7%.
  • Price of alcohol: In 2018, the average price of alcohol sold in the off-trade in Scotland was 59 pence per unit, an increase from 55ppu in 2017.
  • Off-trade 73% of alcohol was sold in the off-trade (in supermarkets and other off-licenses) in 2018.
  • Promotions: 28% of all alcohol (natural volume) sold off-trade through larger multiple retailers (excluding discount retailers) in Scotland was sold on promotion; this has fallen from 55% in 2011.

 

Source: The Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland's Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) monitoring reports 2018.