Drier January made easier as midlife drinkers turn to low or alcohol-free alternatives

New research from Drinkaware reveals that two-thirds (66%) of midlife drinkers have consumed, or would try, lower strength alcoholic drinks – an increase of 15 per cent in just two years.

1 January 2020

New research from independent alcohol education charity, Drinkaware, reveals that two-thirds (66%) of midlife drinkers have consumed, or would try, lower strength alcoholic drinks – an increase of 15 per cent in just two years. This jump in popularity of low alcohol drinks among drinkers aged 45 to 64 is revealed as millions of people will be making New Year’s resolutions to cut back, or cut out, drinking.

Similarly, more than half (51%) of this age group have consumed, or would try, alcohol-free substitutes. This compares with 48% last year.

Midlife UK drinkers were polled by YouGov in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Drinkaware campaigns to get adults taking more Drink Free Days each week.

Drinkaware Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said: “Midlife drinkers often get bad press when it comes to their drinking habits, but this new research tells us that more older men and women are willing to embrace alternatives.

“People in their 40s, 50s and 60s are most at-risk of alcohol-related health harms because they tend to drink more regularly and above the recommended guidelines. So it’s great to see a significant increase over the last couple of years in people within this age group feeling positively about lower or no-alcoholic drinks.

“Even switching to lower strength alcoholic drinks can make a difference to your health. And it’s a great way of moderating your drinking.

“As huge numbers of people start January aiming on cutting back on drinking, low and alcohol-free drinks can really help you on your journey.”

Drinkaware recommends staying within the Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units of alcohol per week and spreading these over three or more days.

Research from the Drinkaware Monitor 2018 also reveals that drinkers under the age of 45 feel more positively about lower strength alcoholic drinks than drinkers aged 45 and over.

  • More than two thirds (68%) of drinkers aged 18 to 44 say they either currently drink, have done, or would consider drinking lower strength drinks. This is compared with 61% of drinkers over the age of 45.

Drinkers both over and under the age of 45 have similar attitudes to alcohol-free substitutes:

  • 47% of drinkers aged 18 to 44 say they drink non-alcoholic beer, wine or spirit substitutes. This is compared with 46% drinkers over the age of 45.

Additional Drinkaware research on low and no alcohol. Data details (from 2019 unless otherwise stated)

  • Almost two thirds (66%) of drinkers aged 45 to 64 feel positively about lower strength alcoholic drinks, saying they either currently drink, have done, or would consider drinking lower strength drinks. This is compared with 51% in 2017.
  • Half of (51%) of drinkers aged 45 to 64 feel positively about non-alcoholic beer, wine or spirit substitutes, saying they either currently drink, have done, or would consider drinking non-alcoholic drinks. This is compared with 48% in 2018.

Male and female drinkers

Female drinkers aged 45 to 64 feel more positively about lower strength alcoholic drinks and alcohol-free substitutes than male drinkers of the same age:

  • More than two thirds (67%) of female drinkers in this age group say they either currently drink, have done, or would consider drinking lower strength drinks. This is compared with 64% of male drinkers in this age group.
  • More than half (54%) of female drinkers in this age group say they drink non-alcoholic beer, wine or spirit substitutes. This is compared with 48% male drinkers in this age group.

About the research: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Fieldwork was undertaken in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Total sample sizes for each was a minimum of 2000 adults, details of which can be supplied on request. All surveys were carried out online.

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