August 17, 2022

Cider or champagne?

The UK’s most loved drinks by age group

Will Blackett, EVP, Consumer
We also know that an increasing number of younger people are rejecting alcohol and remaining tee-total.

Our recent BrandVue Drinks report provides an insight into which drinks brands are the UK’s most loved across the alcoholic and non-alcoholic subcategories.

Taking a closer look at the findings, we explore how the UK’s favourite drinks brands differ across age groups.

While there are some differences in Brand Love by gender and region (particularly for Scotland vs the rest of the UK), the biggest differences by far are between the ages. And this is most striking when we compare the youngest age group (18–24-year-olds) with the oldest (60–74-year-olds).

This must be the result of recent familiarity, purchasing, and value for money considerations over-riding the nascent interest in drinking alcohol legally. We also know that an increasing number of younger people are rejecting alcohol and remaining tee-total. The most loved drinks brands for the older generation are largely champagne brands and spirits, with only Fever-Tree appearing in the top 10. The over 60s are more likely to be able to afford these brands and historically this age group had a more functional rather than emotional interest in soft drinks.

Within alcoholic drinks the two generations love different brands. While 60–74-year-olds favour champagnes and premium spirits, for younger drinkers more affection is shown towards fruit ciders, white spirits, and alcopops. At one level there’s an obvious price consideration. At another level these categories are easy drinking and highlight how the palate matures and evolves from these sweeter and accessible liquids to more challenging tastes.

The lack of lager brands in the most loved drinks brands for 18–24-year-olds must be worrying for brewers and the long-term health of the category – only Budweiser and Birra Moretti appear in the top 100 for this age group.

Within soft drinks there are also differences. Only Coca-Cola, J2O, and Ribena appear in both lists. Carbonates dominate the Brand Love rankings for 18–24-year-olds, while for the older generation it’s mainly mixers, water, and juices.

Some of the widest differences between the two generations are in energy drinks. Red Bull for example is in the top 30 most loved by 18–24-year-olds but is one of the least loved by the older generation who never grew up with this category and with all the brand activity targeting younger markets it’s hardly a shock.

Whilst there are equally predictable wide differences in Brand Love for many champagne, malt whisky and brandy brands between the generations, the gulf for Fever-Tree is perhaps more surprising. Although it was key in the revival and premiumisation of the gin category 10+ years ago and highly loved by the over 60s, this hasn’t yet translated into affection among the younger generation.

Download the full report here for the full Top 100 league table as well as more of the latest trends and insights from the drinks sector.


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