Wine and gin will be bigger than beer in SA this festive season, a new survey says

The festive season has finally set in, and South Africans are likely to choose wine and gin over beer this year, a new survey has shown.

The survey, which quizzed more than 33,000 South Africans living in households with a monthly income of R10,000 and above, found that 76% of South African adults drink alcohol. It found that 43% drink wine, while 33% are gin drinkers.alcoholWine,gin and beer will be the top three choices, with beer dropping one place this year. (Source: BrandMapp)

Although wine has always been consumed by the largest number of adults, over the last four years, this year gin emerged as the second most loved alcoholic drink, knocking beer consumption down the BrandMapp survey found.

Across the globe, gin has been gaining traction and has been readily taken up by consumers, unlike in South Africa, where its uptake had been relatively slow, Brandon de Kock, BrandMapp’s director for storytelling said. “With our historic, artful distilling skills, we were able to quickly capitalise on the interest in craft gins, and with our unique fynbos botanicals to hand, South African gin has blossomed,” said De Kock.

“But I think the main reason for its fast rise in popularity has a lot to do with the fact that it’s gender-agnostic. It appeals equally to men and women, so it’s appealing to 100% of the market unlike other categories like beer and cider that are typically sharply divided on gender,” De Kock said.

When it comes to consumption based on gender, the survey showed an almost equal split between males and female for gin. More women at 53% are gin drinkers, compared to 47% males. More women at 57% drink wine compared to 43% men.alcoholAlcohol consumption split by gender. (Source: BrandMapp)

Beer is mostly a male dominated drink with 78% for men and 22% for women. Similarly, ciders are also female-dominated drinks, with 65% women saying they drink ciders against 35% men who consume them.

Although gin knocked beer into third place, it took its gains from wine, which is seeing less consumers as beer consumption has stayed the same, he said. 

“The relative decline in wine-drinking can be attributed to amongst other things, the ‘youthification’ of the marketplace. Typically, a wine habit is acquired with age, wine knowledge and experience,” he said.

Of the people polled, only 28% listed wine-tasting and belonging to wine clubs as one of their preferred past-times. “So wine is very much like whiskey in that it is indeed an acquired taste,” De Kock said.

“We also see that there are some alcohols that we ‘grow out of’ such as vodka and cider. Although gin looks to be on a similar trajectory, the story’s a bit more complicated. It’s obvious that gin has really found favour with millennials, but in absolute terms, it’s also grown 100% across the older age cohorts over the past four years,” he said.

“I think it’s this rapid growth that made everyone in the business very excited at the prospect of the ‘craft rum’ market doing the same thing, but I have my doubts about this. We may live in a country where sugarcane grows like a weed, but rum is coming off such a low base that it would be a massive surprise to see it being the ‘next gin’. Personally, I think there’s more scope in the premium cider market than there is in crushed sugarcane,” said De Kock.alcoholAlcoholic beverages consumed. (Source: BrandMapp)alcoholAlcoholic beverages consumed. (Source: BrandMapp)

The survey focused on a 30% segment of the population comprising of middle-class to wealthy consumers. The sample represents 100% of the country’s taxpayers and 80% of consumer income, who are more likely to spend in the formal economy.

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