Amongst whiskey drinkers, almost 1 in 5 (17%) claim they have increased the number of times they have drunk whiskey over the past year. Recent research on behalf of Retail Intelligence by Empathy Research, amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,067 adults aged 18+, sought to understand who is driving the growth in the whiskey market and whether the growth is incremental to the market or have new entrants being enticed to the market.
This growth in past year whiskey consumption has been driven by those aged 18-24, where a third (33%) of whiskey drinkers claim that they have increased the number of occasions that they have drunk whiskey, with those aged 25-34 (26%) also supporting this increase in consumption. Amongst those who drink whiskey at least monthly, 3 in 10 (30%) claim that they have increased the number of times they have drunk whiskey in the past year.
There are several reasons driving this increase in consumption, with the most cited aspect being how nice it is to drink whiskey when you want to relax (36%). This idea of relaxation is even more likely to be a driver for consumption amongst those who consume whiskey at least monthly (51%). New entrants to the category are also evident, with just over 1 in 5 (22%) claiming that they are drinking more whiskey than they were this time last year because they have recently discovered that they like whiskey. Further to this, there is almost 1 in 5 (19%) claiming that they are drinking more whiskey nowadays because more of their friends are drinking it now also.
There appears to be two streams from where this whiskey growth is emanating. Almost 6 in 10 (57%) of those who are drinking more whiskey compared to this time last year, claim that they have not replaced any other alcohol with whiskey and that they are just drinking more whiskey than they would have done previously. Just over 1 in 5 (22%) claim they have substituted another spirit for whiskey, with 1 in 7 (14%) claiming to have substituted beer for whiskey.
Consumption of whiskey is primarily focussed in the off-trade but there are also healthy consumption levels in the on-trade. Just over 3 in 4 (77%) of those who drink whiskey claim they drink it in the off-trade, with just over 8 in 10 (82%) of those who drink whiskey at least monthly drinking in the off-trade.
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