Traffic cones can sleep more easily at night because “booze Britain” is not as drinking as much as it used to. Since 2004, when per capita consumption of alcohol hit its peak at a liver-quivering level of 9.4 litres (20 pints), the figure has fallen 18 per cent and more people – especially the body-conscious younger generation – are adopting a more mature attitude to drinking.
According to a recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) poll, 21 per cent of people claimed they eschew alcohol entirely. More than a quarter of 16 to 24 year-olds say they don’t drink, while many of those who do are opting for periods of abstention, with Sober October joining Dry January in the booze-free calendar.
This has been noted by the big brewing corporations. Heineken and Carlsberg have unleashed 0 per cent lagers into a low and non-alcoholic beer sector that, according to analysts, will grow from nearly £63 million a year to £300 million in 10 years – when it will account for five per cent of the UK beer market.